Today I came across a funny article on embarrassing moments while learning to speak Spanish.
I tried to recall my most embarrassing Spanish speaking moments, and while I’m sure there have been many, I think I’ve blocked them from my memory as some sort of instinctual self-defense mechanism; If not, surely the humiliation of it all would cause my tongue to shrivel up to ensure I never attempt to speak another word of Spanish ever again.
There is one moment I do remember though, and I wish I didn’t! In that moment, I didn’t so much misspeak, as misunderstand.
When we were in El Salvador, I received a lot of compliments on my eyes. On my driver’s license, it lists their color as “blue”, but really it is a rather unspectacular blue, in my opinion. Compared to the rest of my family, (both parents and both sisters – all have blue eyes), mine are a dull gray, except in certain light or if I wear a blue shirt.
Despite what I consider to be very normal eyes, apparently they helped me attract my husband. He still comments on how pretty they are on an almost weekly basis, all these years later… And it’s funny, I was attracted to his dark brown “chinito” eyes, which are very common in El Salvador.
In El Salvador, there are not many blue-eyed people. There are some amazing shades of browns, hazels, greens, but blue is probably the most rare, and so it should have been no surprise that when we were in El Salvador, people made frequent comments to me about my “ojos claros” or “ojos celestes”.
One day at my husband’s childhood home, some cousins were over to visit and I was meeting them for the first time. At some point during the conversation, I tuned out and was daydreaming about something else. I realized one of my husband’s cousins was staring at me and saying, “Qué chulos son los ojos, verdad? Bien celestes y claritos…” (How nice the eyes are, right? Very clear and blue…)
Well, of course I assumed the cousin was talking about me and so I blushed modestly and issued a proper “Gracias.” … The conversation came to an awkward silence and my husband leaned over and whispered, “She wasn’t talking about you. She was talking about the dog,” and he lifted his chin in the direction of a blue-eyed Husky, panting, on the other side of the room.