A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Language School
After our initial 2-month training in America, I set off to Costa Rica for language school with my family. Secretly, I thought that this Spanish school stuff was for amateurs. I was already making tremendous progress through barefoot language learning and home study. I liked to say, “I knew just enough Spanish to be dangerous.”
Truer words were never spoken.
Upon arrival in Costa Rica, the airport attendants maneuvered the boarding stairs to the airplane, as I rehearsed my Spanish phrases in my head. I really wanted to use what I had learned and impress everyone with my linguistic prowess.
I followed the other travelers as they disembarked into the humid tropical climate from the stuffy plane. I held my head high, boldly leading my family into this exciting new endeavor.
As I made my way down the steps, my kids distracted me, and I wasn’t paying attention to the young Costa Rican woman disembarking in front of me. As she took her last step off the boarding stairs, my fat foot stepped down onto her long colorful skirt.
When she took her next step onto the tarmac, her body proceeded, but her skirt was kept from joining her on this important journey.
The poor lady’s skirt slid down below her knees, and she frantically tried to pull her skirt up to cover herself, but it was too late. I was so overloaded with luggage that I couldn’t move quick enough to help recover her dignity.
She looked at me in horror. I proudly offered my apology in Spanish. I looked her in the eye and said, “Con permiso.”
For some reason, her mouth dropped open in shock, and she ran into the airport, leaving me confused.
I learned weeks later that there are many ways to say sorry in Spanish.
I should have said, “Lo siento mucho” which means I am very sorry. What I said instead was…with your permission!
Clearly, Spanish school was a needed investment after all.
If that poor woman ever reads this story, I have one thing to say:
Lo Siento Mucho.