Lo siento, yo no hablo español.
Quiero un Americano con leche light, por favor.
This is just about the extent of my Spanish right now, so I've been pretty amazed at how much I've been able to accomplish on my own in just over a week. This is in large part due to the friendliness and understanding of everyone I come into contact with, but it's also because, as humans, we can communicate more than we think without spoken language. Something we don't realize until forced into situations where we don't speak the language. Three separate interactions highlighted this for me just yesterday.
The first was with my Uber driver who was taking me to a gym class in Colonia Condesa. Normally I would have taken public transportation, but it started to rain just as I needed to leave, and we have not invested in umbrellas yet. Uber works well here (minus the traffic, which no one can control), so I knew something wasn't right when the driver turned around and started speaking to me in a somewhat frantic tone. I kindly replied that I don't speak Spanish, but those non-verbal cues led to me to believe that what he was trying to tell me was important. Luckily, David speaks Spanish, and was available by phone. After a brief interpretation session, I found out that the Uber directions app had dropped my destination, and the driver wanted to make sure he was still taking me to the right place. In the end, I needed David's help on this one, but without a single word I knew I needed the help.
The second encounter happened while in the gym class at F45, and circuit style specialty gym. Luckily, the instructors knew English (Colonia Condesa caters to expats), but my partner for the evening didn't. During a battle ropes exercise, she turned to me and said something that I of course did not understand, but once again the look in her face said it all. This sucks. Yes, this is a particularly trivial event, but knowing that I can move all the way here and still find a gym partner to commiserate with brings me a lot of comfort.
The third shared experience of the day came as I was making my way home from the gym. It was still raining, but I was already sweaty, so I figured I would save the few dollars. My route home required a transfer from Metro to Metrobús, both of which are notorious for creating sardines out of their passengers during rush hour, and 7:00pm is still rush hour here. Metro was better than expected, but Metrobús was another story. I waited a few extra minutes to get on a less crowded bus, but just one stop later I was squished between my neighbors on the opposite side of the bus from the doors. Inevitably, I missed my stop because I could not physically fight my way through. A woman near me noticed, and at the next stop helped push me onto the platform, as it was her stop as well. Once cleared of the chaos, we both looked at each other and chuckled as I attempted to show my gratitude.
Yesterday was a very normal day, yet within the span of 2 hours I was reminded three different times how similar life experiences are around the world. All Uber drivers can experience technology failing on them. All workouts suck sometimes. All big cities have public transit quirks. I'm working hard to learn Spanish as fast as I can, but it's nice to know that in the interim, I can still have meaningful moments with people around me.
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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