Monday, November 7, 2011

I don't understand

First off, I would like to retract my words of being ready for winter. It isn't even that cold here in Huelva yet but it sure seems like it is. Walking in the sun feels nice, but inside or in the shade is cold. I used to laugh at one of my Spanish friends who ordered warm milk at a restaurant; now I am warming my milk to have a nice warm drink. And it seems colder inside than out.

But that isn't really what this post is about. This post is about the communication between me and an official this afternoon. After returning from Sevilla and applying for a new passport I took advantage of the hour I had before the police station would be closing. I knew that there was a high chance they would send me to a different office, which is what has been fairly typical when dealing with the police. One office sends you to another who sends you to another who sends you back to the start. At least this time I knew where I would end up.

I went into the station and began slowly explaining that I had lost my passport the previous week while traveling in England. While explaining I shuffled through a stack of papers I had prepared and took out a note I had written in Spanish and told him I didn't speak very good Spanish so I had written down what I needed to convey. He read the note.

A few things I mentioned within that note: I lost my passport. I have applied for a new passport which will be here in the next month and a half. I have already applied for my NIE. (For those who don't know what that it is the Numero de Identidad de Extranjero, or Foreigner ID Number. In order to apply for that number I had to go to the office and show the officials the original documents and also give them a copy of them which included my passport, visa, etc.)

After a minute the officer told me a lot of information, very little of which I could understand. He was speaking very rapidly in Andaluz. I already mentioned I didn't speak very good Spanish. One of the few parts I did get out of this was that I needed to go to the foreigner's office and show them these documents (or something along that lines). And then he proceeded to ask me if I knew where the building was. I think there was a little lack in communication here.

I've gotten the Penguins of Madagascar response down, "Just smile and wave boys. Smile and wave." What I mean by that is I nod and pretend to understand while saying "si," and "vale," meaning yes or O.K. Unfortunately, what I haven't gotten down is forgetting that move and staring blankly while asking if they could repeat that one word at a time for me.


  1. Hi, new follower (auxiliar in Cádiz here), and don't let anyone tell you it isn't cold. I'm sitting here in my apartment, wearing my hoodie and some hiking socks pulled up all the way to my knees. I keep telling myself, "And this is only the beginning of November!", but it can't get much worse . . . can it?


  2. Hi Sarah. At least we don't have to worry about snow here in the South! I have heard that 10 degrees celcius is about as cold as it gets here during the winter but if that is the case it is alredy reaching that low in Huelva. I can't quite understand the feeling colder inside than out though.


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