Learning to Speak a New Language: The Funny Side, By New Member, Kirsty Leggatt

by Patty Ryan posted on 10 December 2014

Saludos everyone! I’m so glad to have joined INC and I look forward to meeting you all. My name is Kirsty Leggatt, I’m Australian and I have just moved to Madrid with my husband, Ray. Ray has recently taken up the position of Defence Attaché, Southern Europe at the Australian Embassy and we expect to be here for the next three years.

I’m an erotic romance author (I write under a pen-name) and I’m excited to experience a new city and new adventures that I’m sure will provide unlimited inspiration! My editor is expecting that my next novel will be filled with the excitement, culture and lifestyle of Madrid and I’m itching to get started on a new story.

We’ve only been in Madrid for three months so I haven’t too many stories to share just yet. However I have found out the hard way the embarrassment of mispronunciation! I was shopping recently and told a man that I was interested in his “cojónes” and could I take a closer look please! Needless to say, the look on his face was priceless and immediately alerted me to my faux pas. Of course, I meant to say “cojines” but I was so wrapped up in formulating my sentence that my pronunciation suffered embarrassing consequences. Since arriving in Madrid I’ve developed an odd, throw cushion fetish but I think I’ll put any future purchases on hold after that mortifying little incident!

I also found myself inadvertently accepting a lunch invitation from a strange gentleman in the street. I was quite distracted at the time and wasn’t concentrating on what he was saying and instead I just reacted to his visual cues and assumed that he was making polite conversation. My usual technique of dealing with these situations is to smile and nod and say “si,si, claro, vale.” The next thing I knew I was ushered into a nearby restaurant and was placed at a table, with my impromptu lunch companion sitting opposite and the word “awwkwaard” rattling around my head! I was expecting a lock smith at our apartment at any minute to fix the old, clunky lock on the equally old and clunky enormous front door so I couldn’t even stay for a coffee! I apologised profusely for the confusion and made a polite, albeit, hasty retreat. Note to self — readjust usual communication coping technique, as it doesn’t always work in my favour!

We are still settling in and trying to overcome all of the hurdles that arise with moving to a new country with an unfamiliar language but I’m taking it day by day — all part of the challenge!

Thank you for the opportunity of posting and I look forward to meeting you all!

Kirsty Leggatt