I’m actually embarrassed to admit this, but prior to our Greece trip I had never visited a place where English was not the primary language. Once we landed at the Madrid airport, I knew we were in for a treat. Sadly, I’ve forgotten almost four year’s worth of high school Spanish classes. Yo tengo un mal…memory.
(Somewhere in the world, my high school Spanish teacher just cringed.)
But I digress. Athens was a complete cluster of languages and I quickly discovered a very amusing game that I call: Can You Guess What Language I Speak?
It started in the elevator. Brett was sleeping
in our room and I had just finished some lovely window shopping on a main street near our hotel. I stepped onto the elevator with an older, English speaking couple. They were chatting about the beautiful elevator mirrors and joking about the convenience of being able to check themselves out on the ride up. They smiled at me and I smiled back, although I remained completely silent all the way to the 6th floor. I don’t know why I was so quiet, I could have easily joined their conversation. In fact, I have a tendency to join random conversations, typically without an invitation.
But for whatever reason, I said nothing. As we arrived at the 6th floor, the elevator beeped and opened. I took two steps off and heard the women behind me say slowly, and perhaps a little louder than was required, “HAAAVE….A….NIICE…DAAAY…”
The elevator door closed behind me and I smiled to myself. For no reason at all, other than to just be silly, I’m almost positive I had convinced that woman that I didn’t speak English.
This happened two other times on our trip, although both by pure mistake and not as a result of my juvenile antics. One woman approached me at the airport and started shouting something in Spanish so fast I literally burst out laughing due to sheer confusion (see: sleep deprivation). I also had a woman approach me in the lobby of our hotel in Athens and start speaking Greek to me. Apparently, some people think I’m Spanish and some people think I’m Greek. The other 98% guess correctly and say “hello” on the first try.
Moral of the story: you should try my little game next time you’re visiting a non-English speaking country. If nothing else, it will make your elevator rides that much more interesting.