When I first moved to Madrid I was really nervous to start my job. I had nightmares about suddenly freezing up when my boss asked me a question in Spanish, or having a client try to explain something to me that I would simply not be capable of comprehending. To assuage my fears, my novio Raúl told me not to worry because when in doubt I can just answer in English.
That sounded simple enough, I thought, so when I started working and finding myself in those dreaded situations where I just could not come up with the word I was looking for, I said the word in English and hoped for the best. Much to Raul’s surprise, I was met with many confused glances and blank stares. I told him the words I said in English, and he was shocked that my Spanish colleagues did not understand, especially since I was primarily using financial terms that are often said English, even in Spain. This continued as such until I discovered the nifty trick of saying the word in English, but with a Spanish accent.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be saying words such as Blackbeddy (Blackberry), oosernamay, (username), weefee (wifi), and tocks (tax), but this is my new reality and my life is so much easier as a result. I even started saying my last name with a Spanish accent (saying Leench instead of Lynch is really just so much easier for everyone).
My new system had me feeling great until the last time I was home visiting my family. Over dinner one night, my father gently told me that I was developing a bit of a strange accent in English. I was slightly horrified but mostly amused. Here I am having trouble with my Spanish pronunciation and speaking my native language with a foreign accent. I can´t win! (As an aside, I am sensitive to the fact that people who speak languages other than English need to do the same exercise so people like me can understand!)
Fortunately I have come to terms with my new accent and decided it can only make me more mysterious and exotic to my fellow Americans when I am back home, in the same vein as other US expats such as Madonna, Gwyneth and Angelina. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.
Has anyone else taken up Eengleesh since moving to Madrid?