‘Are you sure you still want to learn Spanish?’ my Argentinean friend asks me jokingly. After having gotten used to her outspokenly Argentinean accent, in which every j-sound transforms into the hissing of a snake, I felt I had come to the point where I could understand practically everything in Spanish as long as I paid attention. However, when our Colombian study friend tries to get a glass of tap water, asking for a glass of ‘agua del tubo’, the Spanish waitress interprets this as a water and a beer - because in Spain’s Spanish, ‘tubo’ doesn’t mean tap, it means a small glass of beer. She leaves both the Argentinean and the Colombian confused, not to mention my incomprehension.
Similarly, the first time my Puerto Rican classmates uttered the phrase ‘un pan de Dios’ (a bread from God), I thought I must’ve misunderstood - apparently, one uses it to describe a nice person. When they then invited me to ‘janguear’ a bit (interpreted by me as ‘hangar’, which led to interesting thoughts) the following week, I wasn’t sure if to be scared or flattered. In the end, we had a great time hanging out.
However, by a long distance the very best thing about Spanish is its swearwords, spiced with a juicy catholic flavor. Pardon my French, but I do feel the need to introduce some of the most remarkable ones, staying within the limits of civilized (although the Spanish don’t seem to). When an English-speaker might say ‘Shit!’ or ‘Fuck!’, in Spain we can enjoy people exclaiming ‘La Virgen!’ (The Virgin Mary); ‘me cago en la leche’ (I shit in the milk) and, by far my favorite when it comes to the translation to English, ‘me cago en la hostia’ (I shit on the communion wafer)’. As one might understand, I’m very eager to continue learning Spanish. Thank God, I have plenty of pieces of breads from God to help me out.