Languages morphed into one bizarre blend of English, French and Spanish, seems to have become my life in La Republica Dominicana.
The first time we visited the country, I barely spoke two words of Spanish. I was so naive that it never occurred to me that the island’s language wasn’t English. I was far from upset, only a little surprised at myself. I had done research a couple years prior and my addlepated brain, promptly forgotten what I had learned.
Our first stay was purely for rest and relaxation. We hadn’t planned on much else, only a horseback ride on the beach. The hotel staff were very good with our ineptness with their language. We managed fine. Walking the beach and venturing into the little touristy shops was much the same. However, I soon ran into Haitians selling their wares. YESSSSSSSS a familiar language … French. I went a few times and hung out with them just to have locals with a common language.
After several vacations the decision to move came suddenly. I had learned a little bit more Spanish and could understand a little better. I purchased a CD set “Spanish Deluxe” and uploaded it to my iPhone. Between that and a university textbook, my learning the language had begun.
My first apartment came with … Haitian neighbours. I was blessed! We became fast friends. Two of the other young women in the complex proceeded to try to immerse me in Spanish. It was so difficult at first. My language skills improved slowly. It was extremely exhausting. Not speaking the language and trying to communicate is the most exhausting task I had ever undertaken. The community that I chose had several expats from various countries. We got to know each other and had common ground. That made learning Spanish more difficult. It wasn’t true immersion.
I left the expats for a more local community. There the language skills started to develop. The most difficult thing truly was getting used to hearing their words. And if they speak with a mumble, it’s impossible to differentiate words. The second problem … lack of memory. Third problem … French. I got and get so confused between the two languages. Working with the problems and exercising a little self-patience, some vocabulary building, and my ears becoming more adept I was on my way. Oh my! FORGET about the phone! On the phone I still find it impossible 🙂
Good friends, boyfriend, and people in general all had the necessary patience and guidance. Now I’m a little more proficient, I can get by. My trio of friends in the music section burst into giggles with “Claro que oui.” My Frenchness comes out and the usual is “Claro que si” or their English version, “Claro que yes.” But I started them on “Claro que oui,” and it stuck! Dang they’re cute!
Claro que si! Claro que yes! Claro que oui!
Listen to the palms…
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