Odd Moment Getting Settled in Barcelona

September 11th, 2012

A very odd sensation today. My husband and I had gone to try to find decent quality office furniture (ergonomic desks, stand-up desk, that sort of thing). The store was closed, even though it was long before noon. For some reason I was drawn to the store next door, which looked a bit like a garden / home store. It had all sorts of stuff in the doorway so I wandered in while my husband sat outside, longing for lunch. As I stepped inside I heard the radio. After a minute the sounds became understandable to me — the radio was a talk show in Mandarin. I looked around, and sure enough, the proprietor was Chinese. The setting felt instantly familiar.

It’s funny, it’s been a very, very long time since I lived in Beijing. But it was such a formative experience that it has stuck with me. I understood the store completely — the odd combination of stuff, the kinds of things one was likely to find, the useful and oddball stuff. And while I’ve forgotten most of the Chinese I once knew, my ability to converse in Chinese is still light-years ahead of Spanish. Often, when I’m trying to say something in Spanish I’ll hear words coming out of my mouth and realize I’ve dropped some Chinese words in the middle of the sentence ….

4 comments for “Odd Moment Getting Settled in Barcelona”

  1. 1

    Ibai said on September 12th, 2012 at 12:39 am:

    Welcome to Spain! I hope you enjoy the stay.

  2. 2

    Axel Hecht said on September 12th, 2012 at 1:23 am:

    Kate and I just chatted in Warsaw about how we drop in foreign languages we don’t really speak in the light of a completely alien one. Like, I was dropping my fragments of French and Spanish (up to gracias) in Sofia, with little luck. Kate tried her Spanish on the cap driver in Warsaw.

    Seems to be an odd builtin wiring in human brains.

  3. 3

    miquel said on September 13th, 2012 at 12:33 am:

    Hahaha, you’ll see a lot of shops like this in Barcelona… so maybe you’d brush up on your chinese!

  4. 4

    Greg said on October 21st, 2012 at 11:14 am:

    continued expansion of China 🙂

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