*Photo by Colt Fetters http://www.coltfetters.com
On Sticking Out
So I finally got to dip my toes into experiencing another country alone. Granted it’s the small and safe town of Puerto Jimenez and it’s only for a couple hours. I am sitting here at Monka Coffe Shop reflecting on my last few hours of solo wandering.
I was nervous at first to just be a pain in the ass tourist, but there is no way I won’t stick out like a sore thumb. I’m a doe eyed, bushy tailed, white blonde woman who is wandering around looking very much like a tourist. I even decided to not take photos to avoid it. Though my big tourist camera hangs around my next like a sign saying. Why yes I am a tourist pretending to be a temporary local. Ha.
When You Would Much Rather Fit in
I decided to own it for the most part. Stumbling my way through very broken, bits and pieces of Spanish to try and shop. It turned out better than I expected. I can own the first 20 seconds of a conversation so well they assume I know what I am doing. So after the Hi how are you’s, can I help you, they start running off and then I look like an idiot just standing there smiling at them, luckily with no comprendo in my Spanish repertoire, and me habla un poquito espanol. Which is probably incorrect but gets the point across that I have no idea what in the eff they are saying nor what the eff I am saying.
Luckily I try and they seemed to respond well when I asked, “Como se dice?” to just about everything. I wrote down a few sentences before I left for town thinking they would get me through shopping. Like how much? Where are your long skirts? Do you have something like this? And again since I was faking it so well, they started to whole conversations to which I reply with that stupid smile and yeah I’m not getting any of that look of my face.
Letting Go of Preconceptions
Everyone was super nice and didn’t laugh at me when I wrote down what they told me after asking como se dice, (how do you say…) and were so patient when I couldn’t understand their spelling either. Clearly I have a lot to learn. But I know I have to start somewhere and starting with sounding like a silly tourist speaking very broken Spanish with a very stupid look on my face is the place I have chosen apparently.
This place is perfect to start though. It’s small and for tourists, so I think just attempted to speak Spanish instead of spouting out English at them gets me at least half a gold star. But this town is a one road town, and everyone hangs out outside. Most at hanging outside their shops or on their motor cycles and bikes. IT feels like an actual community, and everyone smiles and says Hola as you walk by. They are by far the friendliest people I have met and I just hope that eventually I can really talk to them and let go of being un tourista.