14 June 2006

trouble with much gusto

I should say first that I do not speak Spanish. French, oui. Spanish, notsomuch. I want to learn, and I do try, but I have trouble with mucho gusto. It's supposed to mean (i.e. means) "It's nice to meet you," or "Pleased to meet you." Unfortunately, while in Ecuador and Argentina a few years ago, it was my typical response to, "How do you like the food you were just served?" I probably seemed like some bumbling 19th century poet in ankle-length skirts, trying to brave a jungle expedition. It seems the best interpretation I can hope for would go something like this:

Ecuadorian Host: How is the scrumptious homemade pancake covered in eight kinds of the freshest fruit you've ever seen in your life?


At this point, my sister, involved in conversation across the table, would hear me in that little reverberation chamber in the back of her brain, reserved for an alarm signaling that she must rescue a flailing family member on the verge of committing cultural atrocities.

My sister: What? What did you just say?

Me: *wincing* I like it?

Ecuadorian Host: Does the altitude bother her terribly? Has she been bitten by a mosquito?

My sister: She likes it very much, thank you. She says the fruit is very fresh, and the crisp edge of the pancake is perfect.


So today, I met this guy in my building. He's on the cleaning crew and must be new to the night shift. I said hello. He offered a tentative reply. I smiled. He shyly asked if I spoke Spanish. I shook my head and gave him my best, "como estas?" He smiled and nodded. Since I also know "me yamo," I introduced myself. He responded, and then before I could stop myself, I said, "mucho gusto!"


I sure hope I got it right.

No comments: