OK, so I bought that fancy electronic dictionary, right? Overall it has definitely been useful. But there seem to be a lot of idiomatic sayings or ways of using words here and often it just doesnt know. Especially pertaining to food and shopping. Sometimes it offers suggestions or phrases. Other times it will just say “Sorry, can´t help”. So my new friends in Los Corrales and I had quite a few laughs at how the machine tried to “correct” my request for a word. I taught them how to use it so they spent quite a bit of time typing in spanish words to look at the english equivalent. The phrase “la machina no sabe” was frequently uttered.
Getting out of the cities and out of the hostels (where English is the dominant language) for a while has done wonders for my comfort level just conversing with average people. I don´t know that I´ve learned a lot of new words, although alguiler (to rent) is certainly one, as I´ve had to explain that I have a rental car many many times. But since heading into the countryside, I´ve found myself interacting much more comfortably with people. I am less likely to walk by a place because I have a question about it and I am more likely to strike up a conversation. I have also run into several people vacationing and taking spanish language classes, all of whom are eager to talk. Of course we speak slowly to each other, which is wonderful! The older people seem to speak more slowly as well. I briefly considered staying for a week somewhere and taking a language class, but decided that isn´t really my goal this trip…just a side benefit.