Remember my Hebrenglish blog, about how my English has degenerated been simplified, thanks to the daily influence of my Israeli husband?
Turns out, I was also greatly influenced by my five months as a University student in Madrid. And no, I am not talking about how I may or may not have taken ecstasy at our Spanish Halloween party and went around telling everyone that I was a black drag queen in my past life.
Er… and no, I’m not talking about how I may or may not have drank disgusting ‘Whiskey Cokas’ every single night for those five months and smoked the most disgusting hash nastiness and also tried cocaine a few times. I mean, if I even did that at all.
Nor am I speaking of the clubs my friend Tatiana and I “promoted” (AKA got free entrance into, in return for showing up and taking a stack of club flyers, all of which we promptly took home and chucked into the trash), nor the countless disgusting men who would hit on us and buy us drinks but never made it even to first base with us.
Unless you count penis photos as “first base.”
(This being in the pre-digital photography age, those penis shots gave me and Tatiana quite a surprise once our Spain pictures came back from the local drugstore after getting developed. Especially the fact that there were at least two distinctively different penises, photographed on two completely different rolls of film.)
Is this something that all dumb guys do when the girls leave the room during a dinner party? Take secret pictures of their penises? Or is it just Spanish guys?
No, I’m not talking about any of that.
What I am talking about, of course, is language. My trip influenced my language in a way that did not have me speaking in a fake Spanish accent like one wacky high school friend of ours who we met at a big American rendez-vous and couldn’t seem to shake his Spanish accent. My speech would not be impaired until years later, when I married my Israeli husband.
What the Spanish trip did is cause me to lose my ability to spell.
I first noticed it as I took notes in one of my dreaded pre-1800 English Lit courses – 4 of which were required for my Yale English major. My handwritten notes… were phonetic. PHONETIC!
Phonetic, like the Spanish language. I would write words completely wrong and it would take me a good couple of minutes to figure out what I was supposed to have written. (AKA I wood rite werds completly rong and it wood take me a cupla minuts to figur out wat I was suposed to hav rittin.)
I was an English major. I am a writer, and an editor, and a total stickler for grammar and spelling (I think I may have been among the elite few who laughed at Carrie Bradshaw’s shining moment of triumph over Natasha, the woman who married Big, when Carrie reads Natasha’s mistaken use of ‘their’ instead of ‘there’ in a thank you note.)
My Spanish problem persists to this day… in this very blog, no less, I wrote “roles” instead of “rolls” earlier (lucky me my Word program is savvier than I – either that or it never spent much time in Madrid), and also “you no” instead of “you know.”
So… thanks a lot, Spain.
For the memories, the alcohol poisoning, the penis photos, and most of all, my inability to spell the English language.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)