¿Cómo se dice..?

by leighcburrows

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So today was my first real glimpse of the language barrier I could face here in Valencia. I headed out to the shops as I needed some board pins to stick up photos in my room. I thought I would be a matter of minutes as we are lucky enough to have a shop right on our door step, but I was wrong. I first of all realised, upon entering the shop, that you could not wander around to find your item but you had to ask for it at the counter. What was the word for Board Pins in Spanish?! I wandered up to the desk where I was served by an elderly gentleman. I started off by letting him know that I did not actually know the Spanish word for what I wanted to buy and then proceeded to panic as he looked at me with a blank face. I could think of no better way than to try and act out using a board pin. Maybe its the practical dancer in me, but I thought this might help. It didn’t. I was left saying board pin to him in English, with actions, unsure of what else to do. Then, when I thought about giving up and leaving the shop, a young man around my age spoke up and said ‘I think you mean Chincharros? A board pin?’ My poor attempt at a mime had worked, and I had gained a new Spanish word. And some board pins.

This short encounter made me realise that despite the language barrier I will face here, I have chosen to study a practical course where language is not such a necessity. You can learn so much through ones actions without necessarily speaking the same language. Action and gesture is a shared language we all have and today showed me that. Maybe I will have to take to miming more often!

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