Real Life On Hold - these are the adventures of California native Travis Emmel, as he takes time off from the rat race to travel and see the world.

Journal Entries

No Hablo Español

Friday, February 16, 2007

One of my big goals over the next 5 months is to pick up conversational Spanish. I took three years of high school Spanish and I’m sad to say, could not talk my way out of El Torrito. However, thinking that a little experience is better than no experience, I decided to stick with Spanish instead of trying to learn a completely new language. A while back, I picked up a ‘learn Spanish on tape’ program (one used by the Foreign Service Institute, no less – whatever that means) with the intent of improving my foreign relations. With the cassette’s demise in the early nineties, however, I haven’t used a portable cassette player in over a decade and the last such player I owned is probably buried away in a box alongside such archived classics as Poison, Pet Shop Boys and Foreigner somewhere at my parents’ place. Speaking of 80’s music, did UB40 ever write anything original?

Needing something to get me by before my next trip home, I stopped by Target to check out their selection of tape players. And by ‘selection’ I mean I had my choice between the $10 model and the $50 model. Not wanting to invest heavily in old technology, I picked up the lesser one with the assumption that it would only need to get me through a couple weeks.

This afternoon, I assembled my makeshift classroom, consisting of the tape player, fresh batteries, Tape 1A and a workbook. I popped the tape in and I was off to las razas. In no short amount of time, I was devouring the material, repeating quips and phrases and slowly calibrating my gringo tongue. Halfway through the first side of the tape, I could start to hear a slight squeal in the background of the audiophile-quality headphones that were included with the bargain bin tape player (there’s literally a label on the cord saying that it contains cancer-causing metals – nothing but the best!). No matter, I pressed on through rolling r’s and those always sneaky ñ’s, occasionally tapping and shaking the player in a [sometimes successful] effort to restore proper operation. While my pronunciation may not be the best, I could sense that Juan was starting to tire as the words he presented me with were becoming more and more drawn out.

¿Como estás?” queried Juan.

¿Como estás?” I dutifully repeated.

¿Cooommooo essstááásss?” Juan drawled out.

¿Como estás?” I repeated back to the tiring Juan.

¿Cooooommmmmmoooooooo esssssstááá--”

Juan’s fatal and final words hung in my ear as the tape player expired in my hands, thus concluding my first Spanish lesson.


  • At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Completely forgot about this blog! a couple of quick points/questions:

    1. Is this site available to the general public? meaning, is this the Rated-G for general audiences version? I want to know if i'm able to comment in an uninhibited fashion and if you are able to write in a non-diluted fashion.

    2. In regards to the entry below, it could just be that the 30 people came along for the 'unofficial' free drinks/food ;) j/k. (probably so that you won't squeel on all the internet pRons they have on their computers.)

    3. Get your ass to Mars!

    4. Deebo says, "That's my bike, punk!" How is the training going? please be more specific on where you're riding to and how many miles. some of us hardcore riders want details. speaking of my bike (which we were by the way. try to keep up), i keep having this reoccuring dream where i trade it in for a used upgrade, only to later realize that it's a POS and i want my old bike back. today i woke up with a huge sense of relief i still had my bike. Nerdcore to the core.

    5. Whoever this Britney girl is, she pretty much nailed your routine down: tv, eat, sleep, vegas. Busted. When people who are close to you can sum up your life in 4-5 words, it's timf or real life on hold to kick it in like a turbobooster. you know, like when your man don't treat ya, like he used 'ta.

    6. Bitch, you ain't no Condoleeza!

  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger *britt* said…

    oh no they didn't just call me britney.
    but i appreciate the props :)

  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Travis said…

    I'm writing for the public at large, so the content will be appropriate for a wide audience.


  • At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    manos arriba.
    cruces los dedos detras ala cabeza.
    con tu manos izquierda abra la puerta afuera.

  • At 4:18 PM, Blogger Travis said…

    Crap. I don't think I'll figure out what that says until tape 8!

  • At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Spare! said…

    Ay Dios Mio! Sr. Emmel esta no trabajan o viven en San Diego en Abril. Donde esta en el mundo Sr Emmel? Quien sabe? No mi! Tu?


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