Monday, July 13, 2009

No Hablo Espanol...or How I Learned that Michael Jackson was Dead

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Herschel and I had our first official houseguests a couple of weeks ago. Herschel's parents came to visit! After several fairly intense days of hard work and stress in getting the house presentable, buying a guest bed (!!), cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and general panic, the day finally arrived. And in typical Acosta fashion, we had some friends help Herschel pick up our new guest bed approximately 30 minutes before we needed to leave for the airport to pick up his parents. Like I said - typical, but the important thing is that they had a place to sleep.

We had a great time with them. We showed them all of the sights, went to the beach, ate seafood, etc. However, like most of our time together, much of it was spent with me saying, "What?", "Huh?", "Oh, were they talking to me?" You see, no hablo espanol. But, they no hablo ingles, if you know what I mean. You can see where we might have a bit of a problem. For the most part, I'm used to it. I've accepted the fact that I will not be able to tell you what the heck is going on about 80-90 percent of the time that we're together. I've even accepted the fact that this will often make me look stupid - literally. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror a couple of times over the week and realized that I had an almost pained baffled look pretty much plastered to my face. I had to consciously try to relax my brow, so that I didn't look pained in general conversation. It's not that I wasn't enjoying myself, it's just that I really wanted to know what was being said, and I guess I thought if I contorted my face enough, I might start speaking Spanish. As of today, no such luck.

I don't say all this to complain. After all, I really do love my in-laws. They are truly some of the sweetest, kindest, most sincere people you will ever meet. However, where they live in Texas it is honestly not really necessary to speak English. So they don't. And I've know this since I started dating Herschel. But, I'm very fortunate in that Herschel is absolultely wonderful about translating for me (which means I laugh at all the jokes about 10-15 seconds after everyone else has stopped). So, when Herschel is around, things usually go very smoothly. But, as you can imagine, during an entire week, Herschel had a few things he had to take care of without me - bathroom, shower, work, just to name a few. So, there were those moments of complete and utter awkwardness when me and the in-laws sat and stared at each other. I'm not exaggerating. One day at lunch, Herschel had to make a phone call for work. After I think we all took as long as humanly possible to read every detail of the menu, his parents and I were left to try to make conversation. I thought I would give it a go, afterall, his dad speaks a little bit of English. So I asked some sort of question about five times without any luck, to which his dad politely replied (in English), "I don't know what you're saying." That quickly put an end to the conversation, and I started re-reading the menu.

The next day, Herschel had to be at our church for music practice for what he claimed would be about an hour. It turned out to be closer to two. During this time, we'd just gotten back to the house from the beach, and we were all getting cleaned up and ready to go to dinner. I figured everything would be fine with Herschel gone briefly, as we would all be doing our own thing. doesn't take anyone in our family two hours to get ready. So, once I was clean, dressed, and groomed, I emerged from our bedroom, to the living room.

His mom was watching Telemundo. Despite, her objections that I watch something that I wanted (at least I think this is what she meant, since she was shoving the remote in my direction), I decided that this might be good for me. Afterall, the news was on. This might be my chance to learn some Espanol in action. While I sat there, again with the crinkled, pained look on my face, I was understanding very little. Then all of a sudden out of what sounded to me like gibberish, I heard something very familiar. "Blah, blah, blah...Michael Jackson...blah, blah, blah." My ears perked up. And just to make sure I wasn't imagining, I looked up at the screen to see an image of the King of Pop himself. As I listened, I knew he was sick, but I couldn't tell exactly what was going on. I guess my mother-in-law noticed my attention and she motioned toward her heart and said, "Michael Jackson." So, I took that to mean he had a heart attack.

At this point Herschel, walked in the door at approximately 5:55, and we had to be at Oscar's puppy trainig class at 6:00. So, we rushed out, leaving me to think that Michael Jackson had a heart attack - no big deal. An hour later, we get home, and one of the first things I hear Herschel's mom say was something along the lines of "Michael Jackson...muerto..." And my Spanish is far from good, but I blurted out, "Michael Jackson died???" As it turns out, my Spanish was good enough, as I quickly reached for my iPhone to clear all of this up in English (because, clearly, something was getting lost in translation!), only to find my broken Spanish reports confirmed. Michael Jackson....muerto...

I'm in no way trying to make light of his death. But, I've always heard people talk about where they were when they heard that someone famous died, like JFK or Elvis. Well, I don't think I'll soon forget how I learned that Michael Jackson died.

I'm so thankful for Herschel's parents, and I'm so glad that they got to come down here and see us. And who knows, I might just have to learn a little bit of Espanol before their next visit.

At Downtown Disney in Orlando

1 comment:

  1. You are too funny!!!! One of the first things I thought of when I heard about his death was riding in the car with you and Meagan listening to Thriller and Smooth Criminal. Such a fun memory!