Learning Spanish – In The Office

Learning Spanish in Spain

I Call the Printer “Bob Marley” because it’s Always Jamming

When working in the office here at Spark I often have to speak Spanish when I answer the phone, meet people at reception, pass on instructions to Spanish workmen and especially when talking to our lovely cleaner, Iris, about the latest gossip. Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t understand everything people are saying to me and it gets embarrassing at having to always say “Lo siento, no hablo español, uno momento por favor…” or smiling and nodding and thinking “that’s whatever you’re talking about for ya”. I felt particularly stupid when an IT expert came round to fix the internet and all I could say to him was ¨eso es un cable¨ (this is a cable) about ten times when he clearly knew, by the size of his toolbox and flashy logo on his cap, what a cable was.

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Luckily, I am surrounded by fantastic Spanish teachers in the best place to learn Spanish in Spain so I am now having lessons with Nico to help me with my Spanish vocabulary.  My first Spanish class was, appropriately, office and reception vocabulary. Briefly, I imagined myself holding conferences in Spanish over Skype, charming all the people at reception with my Spanish colloquialisms and telling the workmen that they´re late and using the wrong tools. Back in reality, Nico asked me to write every word I knew in Spanish about the office and, after only writing telefono and computadora, I felt as useless as a Scotsman dancing Sevillanas. “Te gusta cantar y tocar la guitarra Neil?” (¨do you like to sing and play guitar?¨) he asked me, “Sí, claro” I excitedly said after thinking we were going to quickly move away from the topic after my weak attempt. He handed me the guitar and a list of Vocabulario de Oficina and explained how I was going to sing a song about how much I liked all the different office appliances.

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I really enjoy learning Spanish and I like a good love song as much as the next person but I must admit I felt a bit weird singing “I like the stamp damper” (¨me gusta la almohadilla¨) at the top of my voice at 9 am. I was a long way from that Skype conference. However, it was a fantastic way to start to the day and by the time I got to the last line “I like the paper basket” (¨me gusta la papelera¨) I realised we had a catchy song going on.  We started playing it with different chords, different tempos and different styles and it really made the boring words to learn in Spanish funny and memorable. By far, the best Spanish class I’ve ever had, I came out knowing much more than I had hoped and could play a catchy tune on the guitar to boot. Maybe the next time the internet guy comes round I can also tell him how much I like the cable.

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