Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I'm no stranger to hearing a foreign language. Here's a fun fact about me: I am around Portuguese speakers ALL the time. As we speak, I am watching a Portuguese soap opera "Caminhos da India" with my grandparents (avos in Portuguese).
It is quite ironic that I am looking for a language exchange partner in Madrid whilst listening to our native mainland language. Hailing from the Azores, however, my grandparents' accent and verbiage is slightly different. I am seeing a fair deal of parallels to the language I am about to be immersed in. (Side note: my grandfather just switched the channel from the soap to RTP, a channel that comes directly from our native island of Saint Michael (Sao Miguel in Portuguese, San Miguel in Spanish)). It is so interesting to be down here, constantly immersed in a foreign language in my native country. For the time being, I am working at the PharmaHealth Pharmacy branch in the South End of New Bedford, my place of birth. I completely understand the Portuguese spoken and have an extremely easy time deciphering the broken English of the Azoreans and Portuguese (although, coworkers poke fun: I am one of the Portuguese employees who cannot speak the language).
I am blessed to have such a great family and to have so much of an exposure to a "foreign" way of life. For me, however, I have grown up around all of this and am accustomed to the language and customs. Every Summer, my brother and I would spend at least two weeks with our grandparents here in Fairhaven. It is strange for me to be so nostalgic, realizing that the town and home that was once my vacation playground is now the place where I get up at 7:30am to be at PharmaHealth for 9 and work until 5pm, where I am a Pharmacy Technician filling various prescriptions for the Pacheco's and Costa's and Ferria's (all common Portuguese last names). I absolutely love it and feel that I already have a pretty solid foundation upon which to build my next foreign living experience.
Here's a the welcome sign of the current town I'm in, as well as a picture of my favorite employer:
(In case you're wondering, this picture is from the Grand Opening of our Fairhaven location on Alden Road. I'm all the way at the left, next to one of my favorite pharmacists, Karen. I am so glad to be in such a great picture with so many wonderful people. Coworkers in picture, from left to right: Top row: me (I was receptionist at the location at the time), Karen, Richard (the owner and president of PHP), Jen, Abby, Kim, Audrey, Jackie, Lori, Louise (BFF), Michael (on of my most special friends), Jocelyn (my picnic table buddy), Amy, Kristen, Jessica (Juicy), Rhonda (her head is kind of hidden), Carmen, Marina (my aunt), and Rosemary. Bottom row: Eric, Beverly (she trained me!), Jim, Mike T, Phil (COO), Carol, Sara, Enget, Adam, and Heather. EVERYONE there is my favorite!
Tomorrow I am being transferred temporarily back to my original location in Fairhaven; I am SO excited to see everyone that I worked with last Summer! I need to make sure I scan my Portuguese passport and send it to API... I don't need a visa because I'm a Portuguese citizen, remember?
Ok...so I was totally side-tracked....LANGUAGE PARTNER.
As we speak, I am looking on SpainExchange.com. I'm not even sure if it's a good site to search at or not, but what the hell? (YOLO, remember?) I'm just going to wing it and pick someone. But who? A male or female? Someone young or old? Give me a second...searching...browsing...Hmm: user "ruizjura" is 27 and male, from Madrid. "aitorpulido" is male and 19...maybe I should talk with another male? "monicamardi" is 27 and female from Madrid... So many choices. I feel like I'm being idealistic here, but I want the RIGHT partner. I plan on having them the entire time I'm abroad and hope to build connections and network with them. And, with their permission, include them in this very blog. After all, they will become an important figure in shaping my journey. They will teach me their customs, show me where to shop, help me to improve my Castilian accent...
I'm leaving you all in suspense. Here's the climax...who will I choose. Stay tuned for the next episode of Language Exchange: Madrid. Hahaha...kidding. Watch for my next post!
Inhale, exhale, smile. YOLO