September 8, 2006

La Gringa talks on the phone

Oh, happy day! The most exciting thing happened this afternoon. A breakthrough! A miracle! I had a phone conversation, in Spanish, with someone I don't know, for maybe 5 minutes! I don't get many phone calls, other than El Jefe, of course. When I say I don't get many, I mean like less than one per month and it is usually the wrong number.

My normal modis operandi is that as soon as I determine that the person is speaking Spanish and it's not one of El Jefe's relatives, I say "un momento, por favor" (one moment, please) and hand the phone to El Jefe. He is my crutch. Hondurans talk so fast and trying to understand on the telephone is nearly impossible.

It was my bank calling − which gave me a momentary panic attack. The bank has never called before. I had flashes of her telling me that someone had withdrawn all our money, so sorry, or that the bank went under and it would be a few years before our accounts would be available again. She began talking very rapidly and I jumped right in saying, "Más despacio, por favor!" (slower, please!) She did slow down for about 20 seconds but it is impossible for Hondurans to talk slowly past the first sentence.

She was calling about a new premier account which offers all sorts of supposedly free services − that in itself is pretty unusual for Honduran banks, believe me. Usually when they talk about free services, they mean that you get to go into the bank and wait in line for 45 minutes for rude service without having to pay for the pleasure of air conditioning.

It's interesting that they are pushing these accounts because I just opened another account at that same bank a few months ago and the clerk never mentioned the new premier account. Opening the account took three hours to accomplish, standing up the whole time, even though we have two other accounts there, and have banked there for three or four years now, and all my information is in the computer.

It could have taken longer except that I finally begged for help from an assistant manager who knows me. By the time I read the brochure while standing there waiting, I had two and a half hours invested in the other account. I didn't want to start the whole process all over again. I did ask about it, but by then all three of us looked like we were going to cry if we had to change the account.

Oh, and why did I need to open a new account? Because the last person who set up the account did it incorrectly and they cannot correct or change accounts. The only solution is to open a new one and then go stand in line elsewhere to transfer your balance. And why did it take 3 hours? Well, yes I am a stickler for details, but so are Honduran banks; I just had a feeling that my name being spelled wrong (3 times) and typos in my ID number would come back to haunt me later.

I digress. I won't give all the details but it was a real conversation. She talked; I listened. She asked questions; I answered them. She talked some more about the benefits; I asked questions, which she understood and answered. I told her about my bad experience opening the last account and she asked me where. When I told her it was at the main office; she said she was in the mall branch and to come there. A real conversation. We only got stymied when I tried to spell my last name. My Spanish alphabet has gotten really rusty.

Oh heavenly day! I have had an intelligent phone conversation en Español! Maybe my Spanish isn't so horrendous after all! Díos mío! Maybe I'll start writing my blog in Spanish.

Nah, I don't think so.
Newer posts Older posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...