I have been tagged to choose my favourite word for International Literacy Day.
I am late. It was yesterday.
And as I am writing from Spain, I am going to choose Spanish words. Y tambien, voy a escribir un poco en español.
Bueno. Me encanta la lengua español, y hay muchos palabras que me gustan.
Guapa, precioso, estupenda, jazmín (con su olor de las noches de verano), chiquitito, calentito, y fuera.
¿Por qué fuera?
Well, when I first came here, one of the ways I started to learn Spanish was by watching TV. Mainly the news, and a few films. And I had to use sub-titles because everything was just too fast.
Later I started watching Spanish and Latin American soaps, still with sub-titles but the dialogue was pretty simple.
When you have heard Luis Mario say fifteen times in one episode of Gata Salvaje
“A mí no me interesa. No me interesa nada. Absolutamente nada.”
you figure that he is not interested. At all. And soon I could watch without sub-titles.
And I watched Charmed – Embrujadas, Buffy – La Cazavampira, and Rex.
One day I was watching Charmed and Prue was waving her hands around as usual, and at the same time told someone to go away. “Fuera!” “Fuera de aquí!”
I though that would come in useful, particularly walking the dog when strays came up to aggravate him, or small children started being a pain.
I was talking to my neighbour about Charmed. “Embrujadas,” I said. But as Adelina can’t read anything she can’t read the title when it comes up on the television. She describes the programmes as a film, or a telenovela, and then talks about the content.
She finally worked out I was talking about Charmed because she then did a beautiful impersonation of Prue waving her hands to move something, and said “Ella con los manos.” Her with the hands.
So because fuera is a very useful word, especially when snarled correctly, I am choosing that one. More importantly, it will always remind me of my illiterate – and very sharp – Spanish neighbour. I still find it strange that here is a woman of my mother’s generation who can’t read and write, when my grandparents and their parents could all read and write.
In fact there are people younger than her in our village who have never learned. Mostly their families help them when necessary, and when they go to the bank they sign with their thumb.
So fuera is my word. For my neighbour and all the other Andalucians whose families work in the fields and haven’t had the opportunity of education.