I have returned from my weekend in Miami.
Being in Miami is very strange for me. Everyone there speaks Spanish, in fact, you are hard pressed in some areas to find someone who speaks English well. Being that I look the part, no one even attempts to speak to me in English. Which is always difficult to explain when someone comes up to you and says something you don't understand. I do a lot of smiling and nodding while in Miami.
Since the majority of my time there was spent in the hospital (Palm Springs General Hospital - and it is just as soap opera-y as it sounds; young, attractive doctors were plentiful) I purchased a spanish workbook to pass the time, and to aid me in communication with mi abuela (my grandmother), who I would be taking home in the evenings. My grandmother's grasp of English is very similar to my grasp of Spanish. That made for fun conversations on the drive to her place. Lots of drawing things with my hands to try and explain what I was trying to say. (Por exemplo: I wanted to know where the bakery was, but she didn't understand "bakery", so I said "pasteles" which are a pastry and sort of drew a house in the air. She understood this, and told me in spanish that it was on 119th. I then asked, "Izquierda o derecha? (Left or right)". I managed to find the bakery and bring home muchos pasteles.) The workbook didn't help a whole bunch, as I was only at the beginning, and my knowledge now extends to telling you that the notebook is on the table. (El cuaderno es en la mesa.)
Despite our difficulties in communication, my grandmother was thrilled with my attempts. As I finished reading "Examinando Escrituras..." in the morning, she looked at me and said, "Ay, Amba, tu sabe mucho!" (for those of you who know Spanish, please excuse any error in spelling - I can only write what I hear; for those of you who don't speak it, like me, she told me I know a lot)
My grandfather, who is the one who is in the hospital, will have his toe amputated today. It was sad to see my father and uncle try to explain to him what was going to happen so that he could sign the consent form. My grandfather has dementia, so it is difficult explaining things to him, as he will forget that you talked about it later on. And he was scared. My grandfather is a tough man, so it is strikingly sad to see him frightened and in a way, helpless. At least he had family around him, and there were friends from his congregation that came to visit. There were many other elderly people on his floor that seemed to never have a visitor.
As much as it was a sad, and at times, difficult visit, the hospital had one redeeming quality (besides attractive doctors). They have the BEST cafeteria in the history of hospitals. I am serious. The food there was better than most fine dining establishments, and at five-six dollars a plate, you couldn't pass it up. I had salmon, pork loin, and dolphin all in my stay there. For the price of a value meal at McDonald's, you received high quality, delicious, healthy food. Yum. If you are ever in Miami, I highly recommend it.
So that was my trip. I am glad to be back, sleeping in my own bed, and not feeling quite so guilty about not knowing a second language. I will, however, continue working in my workbook. You never know when I might need to tell someone where that notebook went.
Listening to: Innocent Man by Billy Joel
Current Mood: still waking up, so sleepy; looking forward to eating a pastry :)