Monday, November 30, 2009

¿Hablas español

I continue to take French, less formalized now that mon professeur has removed herself to the South of France, but still the four of us (Dan, Paulette, Janaki and I) soldier on and have a practice type class every Wednesday night. In my heart, though, I know I should be learning Spanish.

Living in Southern California, formerly known as Mexico, where every single person who helps me keep the dust bunnies at bay and the ‘garden’ growing, who bravely fells 100-foot gum trees and hacks out tinder-dried palm fronds before they become missiles in a fire, who tiles and wires and routers and fiddles with my home and grounds so that I don’t have to…doesn’t speak French and rarely English.

Last July our gardener, Santiago, hurt his knee. And so his wife Lydia and teenaged son Mayno (I think that’s how it’s spelled) came out each Monday to help him through his day. And because it was two of them working, we suggested they leave at noon instead of 3 PM. Santiago’s knee healed and Mayno eventually went back to school but Lydia continues to come. She’s strong and a good worker but we like having Santiago here for a full day instead of half, and also feel it’s wrong if they’re both working and we’re not paying for both their efforts. So Roger asked Santiago if he could just come on his own because of, you know, our guilt.

But I guess Roger didn’t explain it very well because Lydia came today and we didn’t know quite what to say, so Roger said something that was obviously lost in translation and then she went and sat in their truck. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh…so I took her a cup of coffee and smiled and said, using Google Translator…of course not really knowing if this was quite what I meant to say (I'm still not sure).

Lydia, nos encanta tener que venir a trabajar con Santiago, sólo que no tienen suficiente dinero para pagar más dinero por semana que las de Santiago que ya hacemos.”

Yeah, I probably said it that loudly, too. And she, thinking I spoke a kind of Spanish, started speaking to me from her heart. I made all the right faces, I guess, and said, “SI…SI…Entiendo (which I clearly did not)” and so now she will continue accompanying Santiago every Monday because she wants to and we’ll just have to get used to it, I guess.

But before I actually found her in their truck, I wandered around the garden snapping pictures of an almost December day in my back/front/side yards. I was trying to be all natural and didn’t want Lydia to think I was hunting for her.

It’s either Spanish lessons or carrying an iPhone around with Google Translate at the ready. Here's what I saw today.

Goldfinch taking advantage of the seeding Rosemary

They See Me

American Robin (to my European friends...I know, I know, it's a Thrush)

A Tangle of Rosemary

Salvia in Bloom

Working Man


Crap grass through Peppercorns

Two Trimmed Gum Trees next to a shaggier untrimmed one

Season's Over

He's still getting by with a little help from his friends

Afternoon Sun and Shadow on living room floor

My favorite book on color

Coffee Table by the end of the weekend

When it's this dry, I keep this book in plain sight


Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

You know that I hate too be fussy, but is it really "mon professeur" when she is a she?
I lost interest in French when they explained to me that I had to know what sex my front door was before I could speak it properly. Damn silly language.
The working man looks in need of nourishment. I have heard that coffee and some nice organic biscuits work a treat.

11:46 PM  
Blogger anjistar said...

Languages are the bane of my life - I see a new one and it's got its hooks into me. My Spanish tutor's son has a new Czech girlfriend. Guess what we're doing for an hour after our Spanish class?

Stick with Google Translator, much less confusing!

5:31 AM  
Blogger Lin said...

Vicus: I'm sticking with mon professeur, in spite of Arlette's very obvious gender. Which is more important...sustainably grown, organic coffee beans or an organic bikkie? Because I scored big on the former and lost on the latter.

Anji: All I want is to be understood as well as the average four-year old. Is that too much!?

9:06 AM  
Blogger Vicus Scurra said...

As I have written elsewhere, when Mrs Smith entered the room in order to teach those of us in 4Y French, she would typically say "Alors!". This is how someone a little backward in the north of England might greet you. So we would all respond. Hilarity ensued.
I still have no French.

12:17 PM  
Blogger juana said...

Oh that's too funny. So are they both coming for a full day at the old rate or are you getting both but for half day at the old rate? I'm still confused..

AND, when did you get an iphone? Can't believe I forgot that bit of info..

7:14 PM  
Blogger Lin said...

Juana darlink: No iPhone yet...although Himself was chattering about it at dinner tonight. And I'm not really exactly sure what Santiago and Lydia are going to do next week. When your Pa tried to talk to Santiago further about this, Santiago kind of said, "She's crazy." Meaning, I guess, she'll do whatever she wants to do! We'll see...update coming.

8:06 PM  
Blogger d. said...

Love the photo of the shadows playing on your floor!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Lin said...

Why thank you, d! I love the floors in this house. They're big planks (8'x4') of maple plywood with a really pretty honeyed tone to them. Soft underfoot and kind of look like tooled leather where the screws run along each joint. And the sunlight is so clean in the winter, it's hard to go wrong.

I'm going to trip along to your site a little later on tonight.

5:39 PM  

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