From email update May 5th:
KVETCHES OF SPAIN
Ok, so this section is about language, not kvetches, but it was too good a pun to pass up, no? :)
Cool, language. My Spanish is getting better, and even though I often end a day completely exhausted from trying to speak and understand, communication certainly has its benefits. Two weeks ago, I hit a major milestone: made my first friend by speaking only Castellano. A nice old dude in my favorite tea shop; he recently published a book on el amor del alma (love and the soul). In keeping with my inability to meet Spaniards in Spain, though, he was an Italian Jew. Oh, well. :) Tonight I’m having dinner with a for-real Spanish family — I met the mother at the meditation center, and she gave me a standing invitation to visit their home. People have been incredibly friendly and generous — with their homes, their belongings, and their patience while I struggle to find words and keep up. Feels wonderful.
In other fun news: false cognates!
1) If a friend asks whether you’re constipado, they are not being gross or rude — they’re just concerned that you might have a cold. The word means congested.
2) Since the suffix “eria” indicates a vendor (a gelateria sells gelato; a peluqueria sells haircuts), you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that a ferreteria sells hardware.
3) Mealtimes at the meditation center, we had to make sure to give extra food to the women who were embarasadas. Pregnant. Heehee.
And how’s this for a dairy-alternative brand name? Yo Soy.