Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Personal Space

When Dr. J moved to the states, one of his main complaints was that when he didn't understand people, they would talk louder rather than clearer. I've heard the in-Colombia-people-actually-will-talk-softer-but-more-clearly-instead-of-yelling-at-you speech many times and I'm gonna have to disagree for the most part. However, I'm not really bothered by the loud talking, perhaps I'm slightly hearing impaired, who knows, but I'm greatly affected by the invasion of personal space whilst talking louder. I'm pretty sure I can't hear or understand them because holding my breath and trying to look comfortable requires about all the effort I can muster (I have this thing about breathing other people's exhale ... simply won't happen). If I don't know you very well, and I can touch you with my elbow, you are too close. If you see me squirm and awkwardly look on either side of your face rather than make eye contact, my eyes probably can't actually focus on your face ... thus, again you are too close. And this happens all day long.

Also, Dr. J's father is The Most Difficult Person to understand here, his voice is unimaginably deep, and it seems to be in a constant murmur-like state. Even if he patiently spaces his words out, it's SO unbelievably deep and monotone, I almost always have to get someone to repeat what he said. Not only that, but he never smiles when he talks, so it's this slow, low rumbling of a murmur, and of course, he's 4.5" from my face and his questions take for-e-ver, so it always feels like he's about to tell my he just ran over my cat. He'll come up to me and say, "Missy ... que ... ... queires ... mirar ... en la .... television?" but before he reaches the end of the sentence my emotions have already responded to, "I'm sorry ... I have ... to tell you ... your father .... has passed away", and I'm halfway to a nervous breakdown and on my way to find my toothbrush. And this is the only part of Spanish that is clearly not had any improvement whatsoever.

When I return in August I'm bringing surgical masks. And I have a birthday coming up if any of you want to jump on that for me.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having fun....any chance you might jump over to Chile and visit my friend Lorena's new baby?? See you in July!! - Mara

Hachie Gal said...

We have a whole supply of surgical masks that we will bequeath you from our time in Asia during SARs....they are all yours, just for the asking...