Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Situation (In a Shameful Distortion of Haiku)

my father in law
doesn’t speak any English
I don’t speak Spanish

he will be here soon
what is Spanish for awkward?
no time to learn now

in these many years
we both learned to say hello
and not too much else

I have no excuse
except that I’m a chicken
And can’t roll an ‘r’

a twelve day visit
that’s a lot of gesturing
and polite smiling

and what if I want
to schlep around in PJ’s
or sneak some ice cream?

it’ll be okay
fluency is relative
when there’s cerveza


PJ Hoover said...

Cerveza helps much. Maybe he has a nice recipe for Sangria he can share.
Have fun! And nice Haiku.

C.R. Evers said...

LOL! Hope the visit goes well!

Funny . . . I have relatives that I have to smile politely at w/o saying a word. . . and we all speak English.

You crack me up!


Suzie said...

Wow that is aquward. At least you cant say anything you'll regret

Bish Denham said...

If your Spanish speaking father-in-law is anything like my Puerto Rican Spanish speaking relatives, (I don't speak Spanish though they do speak English) he will make you feel at home in your own home. Be yourself, offer food, laugh alot and you should be just fine.

Oh...and show him your paintings.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Good luck! Maybe you can draw some "word" cards with pictures so you can just point? Well, you could. I couldn't. It would be easier for me to play charades because I'm not artistic at all.

Anne Spollen said...

Nod a lot and speak VERY LOUDLY AND SLOWLY. It doesn't help, but it's generally what Americans do. Kind of a cultural lesson ; )

Ara Burklund said...

Ooh. Twelve days, did you say? Even if you both spoke the same language, that'd be a challenge. Good luck!

Lily Cate said...

Yeah, I think I'd get along better with an inlaw who didn't understand me.
Maybe you can all spend the week playing Guitar Hero and Nertz. Two games that shouldn't need any translation.

LW said...

Wow! 12 days…

Have your husband write some flash cards in Spanish
with the English on the back. That way both your FIL and you can use them…

Good luck,

Rena said...

Great poem! If all else fails, just ask him if he'd like some ice cream ...

¿Querría usted algún helado, el Padre?

Have fun!

Kim Kasch said...

How 'bout saying, "Gelato???" Everyone knows the Italian word - right?

Hey, I know how you feel. Whenever I go over to Denmark, I spend a lot of time smiling politely and listening.

Hope it goes well.

adrienne said...

Wow, there are some great suggestions here! Thanks for the good wishes...
Somewhere we have a great big picture dictionary - I just have to find it :0

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Whoa. I'll be thinking about you. Maybe feed him lots of chocolate?
(I know it doesn't make sense, but chocolate is always my answer if I have no other one.)

Mary Witzl said...

These cracked me up. My sister's in-laws are Cuban and know little English; she'd definitely sympathize.

Just remember: "Mi casa es su casa" and after that just think 'En boca cerrado no entran moscas' -- and keep those cervezas coming! (Hope I spelled that stuff right, it's been a long time.)

adrienne said...

Becky - That's my answer, too - and believe it or not, he doesn't like it. Oh, well, more for me - I'm gonna need it.

Mary - LOL - great advice. Now I have a new saying...Silence is golden, and so is cerveza!