Thursday, March 10

unexpected raphaelisms

To recap for anyone who hasn't been following along or isn't my mother, Raphael is from Guatemala so he speaks Spanish like a native.  Of Guatemala.  Which he is.  But he's also really, really good at English.  In most situations. 

Raphael taught himself English when he was in his twenties.  He lived for awhile in Antigua, Guatemala, and worked as a tour guide, taking the more intrepid sorts of tourists hiking up volcanoes and camping in the jungle and whatnot.  (He tried to do this with me once, early on in our relationship, and I wound up breaking down in tears on the trail. The inclines, people!  Hiking up a volcano over there is like scaling straight up the side of a multistory office building!  Only with jaguars!  And Canadian tourists!  Also, unbeknownst to us, I was developing a lung infection.  So I was saddened to find myself in a situation where I had to use vines and roots to literally pull myself up a 45-degree muddy slope that my new boyfriend had just bounded up like a squirrel. I did finally make it up the volcano and even to the cheese factory that was on the other side and eventually got my lung infection diagnosed by a guy in a pickup truck who wrote me out a prescription for antibiotics and am still with Raphael, so please don't be upset.) 

Anyway, all these crazy, young tourists who wanted to climb volcanoes spoke a lot of English around Raphael, and, intitially, all sorts of hilarity ensued as he struggled to communicate with them.  For example there was the time with the group of Australian guys.  It was a cold night and Raphael thought he would make everybody a nice fire.  To convey this to the Australian guys, he said, "Let's get hot."

Eventually he became much more fluent in English and no longer said things like "Let's get hot" to big groups of Australian guys, and, still later, after moving to the U.S., he got even better at not saying things like this.  And now he regularly uses big, fancy words that I don't even know such as thermogenic.

But there are still the Raphaelisms.  Learning big, fancy words is easy; mastering the idioms is much more difficult. For example, this morning, he tried to insult me in a breezy, affectionate manner.  I forget why.  I had probably done something dumb.  I remember that I was standing in the bathroom, so maybe it had something to do with toilet paper. 

Raphael:  You're being a blonde dumb.


Jenny:  No.  You're being a blonde dumb.


julie said...

I just laughed out loud at my desk. That is so hilarious freakin'!

aracely said...

oh jenny this is so funny!!

Sarah and Jim said...

I love Raphaelisms! That should be the title of your next book!! I still remember his story about Cheam Creese!