Catie Come Home

Our adoption journey to Guatemala

April 12, 2005

No Embarrassing Spanish Moments

Neither Kimberly nor I embarrassed ourselves last night when trying to converse with the Venturas. Kimberly did a great job keeping the conversation going, though afterward she said that it was exhausting trying to speak and understand another language.

I kept quiet much of the night and didn't try to say anything in Spanish. The memory of my one attempt to say something to the Venturas five years ago when we adopted Anthony was still far too fresh in my mind for me to try.

When we had dinner with them that time, they asked if we would like to stay with them one night. Kimberly was trying to think of the Spanish word for "bed" to tell them we couldn't accept the offer because we needed a bed for Anthony. She asked me to look it up. I found what I thought was the right word and said it. The Venturas looked at me questioningly. I repeated the word -- and repeated it again and again, as if saying it multiple times would make it right.

Only after the third or fourth attempt did I bother to look at the word in the translation dictionary again. I had told the Venturas that we could not stay with them because they had no ... bedpan. No wonder they looked so befuddled! Kimberly tried to salvage the day by explaining what I really meant, but we we're not sure to this day that they ever really understood.

I wish I could have been a fly on the steering wheel of the Venturas' car on their way home that night. I can just picture them looking at each other and one saying to the other: "What's with those Americans. We're supposed to be the Third World country, and they're still using bedpans!"

Thankfully, Kimberly embarrassed herself even worse Sunday night when she called the Venturas to invite them to dinner at our hotel. As she talked to Brother Ventura, she thought he kept saying his wife wasn't there. Kimberly interpreted that to mean Sister Ventura had died ... so she offered her condolences. Sister Ventura is alive and well!

My brother's wife, Doris, had to salvage the day that time. Doris is Mexican and speaks Spanish, so Kimberly called her and asked her to call Brother Ventura and make she he understood their brief conversation. Doris called back later to say that she and Brother Ventura had some good laughs at Kimberly's expense. So now she can never again tell "the bedpan story" without me also getting to tell "the dead wife" story. :)))

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