Since arriving in Spain, I have spoken exclusively Spanish. Spanish is not my first language, so I have made a lot of mistakes.
I have accidentally asked my Airbnb host if he was gay (I was trying to ask if he understood me. I have since learned that “Do you understand?” can also mean “Are you gay?” (Side note: He is, in fact, gay)).
I have also taken offense at my flatmate for saying that it’s a horrible shame that my dad’s side of the family is Polish (she was actually saying that it’s a great coincidence. My bad, Alti!).
But there is one mistake that tops the list so far.
Full disclosure: I have downloaded Tinder in the hopes of practicing my Spanish conversation skills via texts with Spanish natives. Obviously Tinder is the most shallow thing ever, and I had my reservations about downloading it because I do not want to be a shallow person, but fellow expats in Spain have recommended using it to improve your conversational Spanish skills. Over here, Tinder is used as a way to meet and talk to new people, and not necessarily as a dating app. Cultural differences, I guess!
(NB: MOM STOP FREAKING OUT TINDER IS NOT A HOOKUP APP OVER HERE. YOU CAN USE IT TO JUST CHAT.)
Getting Tinder was by and large a good idea, seeing as it has given me plenty of opportunities to make small talk in Spanish, and I have not yet met any creepers or been propositioned. Actually, nobody’s even flirted with me. It’s all been astonishingly respectful.
(NB: IN CASE THIS WASN’T CLEAR, I AM NOT USING TINDER AS A HOOKUP APP. CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, MOM!)
Unfortunately for me, yesterday one of my small talk Tinder buddies told me that he has just graduated from college. The phrase he used was “terminar la carrera”, “to finish a degree”. Sadly, I assumed that “carrera” meant career, because that makes sense, okay, and that he was telling me he just got fired. My response, roughly translated, was, “I’m so sorry to hear that. It’s such a shame you went to college. I hope you get a different degree soon.”
The next time I went on Tinder, he had blocked me. Beautiful Tinder-based friendship over.
On the bright side, at least I won’t make that mistake again!