Currency Confusion

30 Apr

I know I’m not the only one who has this problem, but I really can’t get the hang of other currencies. In the UK I’m pretty careful with money and have a really clear view of what is a reasonable cost and what isn’t, but if I have to get on a plane I lose all concept, like I suddenly have money vertigo. OK, I might think that something is expensive, but too pretty to not just go ahead and buy it anyway, but the little person in my head (normally with my dad’s cross face) makes it clear I’m behaving impulsively when I go ahead and buy it anyway. I’ve never been one to listen.

Other currencies baffle me. I just spent 25 euro on a taxi, and sitting here in the airport waiting for my flight I have consumed 6 Euros worth of chicken nuggets, totally oblivious to the cost per pound of my reconstituted chicken armpits. I normally go by the rule that if that’s too expensive in pounds, then it’s too expensive. This works in America as it’s roughly half the cost, so angry dad in my head is subconsciously keeping track of my spending, but anywhere else it’s anyone’s guess.

But this is where holiday mentality kicks in. On holiday, it’s OK to have a glass of wine in the airport at 6am, or eating ice-cream as a staple food every day, isn’t it? Just like it seems to be OK to spend money as if I have been shrunk down and popped onto a Monopoly board, trying to avoid being eatedby a giant dog or stomped on by a massive boot as I make my way around the city.

Holiday logic. You wouldn’t drink more than one jug of sangria in a twenty four hour period at home or you peers might rush you off to the nearest AA meeting, but as soon as the sun is to and the people are speaking a different language, it’s OK. Holiday logic.

Everything is more fun when you are on holiday and sounds far more magical, but I hate the fact that I only speak my native tongue, At school I was good at French but my horrible teacher told me not to apply for it to A level as I wouldn’t meet the C entry requirement at GCSE. When I walked out of the exam with an A* (in your face, horrible French teacher) the course was full. I don’t have a natural aptitude for languages though, unlike my beautiful friend Aimili who speaks Greek, French, Italian and lots of others fluently. I get muddled up. Ask me to count to twenty in Spanish and I get to twelve and revert to French. Industrious.

The Spanish language is beautiful though. The taxi driver told me this morning that I was a ‘Bella chica’. Although he was middle aged and could have benefitted from a wash I went a little weak at the knees, when he was essentially just  calling me a ‘fit bird’, something that would have induced a full body shudder in the UK. The guy at border control then called me ‘bambino’ and I smiled sweetly and carried on. Being called baby by anyone at home causes me to involuntarily retch, yet in a different language it sounds musical and seductive from whomever’s lips the words are spoken.

I probably should learn Spanish; it would help me with uncomfortable situations like the one I found myself in yesterday. After trekking round the city we stopped for tapas and a much needed loo stop. Off I went, being pretty confident that I spoke enough Spanish to find the right loo, identifying myself as a senorita. There were no pictures depicting a dress or trousers, and no ‘s’ option on the door. I hopped from foot to foot trying to work out if I was an ‘h’ or a ‘d’ until I figured that it could be a font issue and after reasoning that if I squinted, the ‘d’ looked like an ‘s’, I plumped for that one.

So by the time you read this I will be firmly back on British soil, excited about seeing New Kids on the Block. But for now I must wait for my plane and try to ignore the enormous diet coke that came with the nuggets, for fear that I might need to use the bathroom on the plane and get sucked from the plane, to my death.

Do you speak any languages?

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6 Responses to “Currency Confusion”

  1. susielindau April 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    I “supposedly” learned French in high school, but I am a major struggler with foreign languages. I know some Spanish as well. “Some” being an exaggeration! 🙂 I bet you had a blast!

  2. Kats Whispers April 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Ha ha. Brilliant. Foreign loos are so confusing…

    I always try and learn a little lingo so I don’t feel like such a failure abroad but as soon as I go to speak they always start chatting in English (being a natural blonde that will always happen in Spain or Italy) leaving me slightly put out that they won’t allow me to at least try and fail.

    Hope you enjoyed Barcelona, such a lovely city x

  3. visitingmissouri April 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I speak Dutch and English (with a Dutch accent). I also thought I spoke French, but my girlfriend (who doesn’t speak any other word than English) got further in hand signing than I did in French. So yeah…

  4. Sam April 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    We have 11 official languages in South Africa (madness right?). Despite my high school teachers best intentions I still only speak one – English. Though I can count to 10 in Japanese… does that count?

  5. prenin April 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    I had a lousy french teacher who taught us spoken french, but not written french, so we all failed!!! 😦

    Today I manage a few words, but have had no need to use it, so even that is dying! 😦

    Love and hugs my petite mamselle!!!

    Prenin.

  6. nelle April 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    The whole other language thing befuddles me, unlike my youngun, who’s quite adept with it.

    Hope you had fun.

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