Yo Wish-o Hablo Español

I do not speak Spanish.

At all.

I speak Spanish words.



I mourn the fact I never learned Spanish. Not only because it is beautiful, but because it is priceless for communicating and making close friendships in North America, and world-wide. Without it, there is such a void. I would love to be able to sit and listen intently and converse easily with my sister-in-law, and every native Spanish speaker I meet (a daily occurrence for me). Whenever I hear people speaking Spanish in the hallways at work – [a continual occurrence because I work in the basement of a hospital where most of our service staff and translators do their comings and goings] I just wish I could jump in and chat away with them in their native tongue and learn all about their lives, and be their friend.

I know that I am missing out on some truly amazing relationships.

And now, with my pending travel to Spain, my no hablo español is no bueno.

Thanks to watching Sesame Street as a child I know how to count to ten. (Backwards and forwards!) *I get a gold star*

And, “aqua“…. very important!!


I’ve also got:

No hablo español. (obvious)

dónde está el baño? (the first thing I Googled and memorized)

Confession. All I can ever remember are those last 2 words… “el baño???”

I figure if I just put a ‘question mark’ at the end of all my words with a big scooping inflection in my voice they’ll get the gist. Maybe I could add a little jig if my el baño request is urgent [as the crazy American]

Here’s the rest of my arsenal.

Por favor
Buenos días
Buenos tardes
Beunos noches

My office housekeeping angel Rosario is teaching me some new words each day. Today I learned:

basura (garbage)
cansado (TIRED. I figure I will say this often on our Camino) She pronounces this word to sound like “Gan-SAW-though”)
muy cansado (very)
mochila (backpack)

That’s pretty much all I’ve got right now.

Other than the common food words – tortilla, bocadillo, taco, nacho, churro.

Thankfully, Mr. Mo is doing much better than me. He served a mission to France “back in the day” and lived and worked with natives [it’s been a few decades, but he practices his French every day, and natives have told me he has a good accent]. There is probably CERO [as in zip] chance he will be speaking French in the wilds of Spain [although, anything is possible]. But, it has been easier for him to learn Spanish because he has a foreign-language-learning kind of brain. It also hasn’t hurt he has been spending 30 minutes on his DUO LINGO app cramming in as much Spanish as possible before we leave.

Bless him.

sky blue windy flag
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here’s the plot twist.

We will be walking in the Galicia region of Spain, and they don’t speak Spanish. 🙂 They speak Galician. So, all of the Spanish that we are diligently cramming may or may not be helpful. In larger cities, people are bi-lingual of course. But, in small villages I may be using my pantomime skills.

I’m being told people appreciate it when you at least put forth the effort. So, I’m going to give it my very best shot! Sometimes, I even start feeling confident.

Then, panic strikes again, whenever I suddenly remember that after I say something in “Spanglish”, they will respond!

grayscale portrait photo of shocked woman
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Pexels.com

Oh boy… well, this is all part of my adventure!


My few handy tools:

  1. CAMINO LINGO – a little pocket-sized book. specifically written for speaking Spanish on the Camino (although, not too much Galician)
  2. Google Translate  – can download on our phones. Something I’m still trying to figure out though is if I can actually use this tool without turning on my data (the whole phone issue is another thing I’m problem solving right now, but I digress). There is actually “Galician” on Google Translate! Hooray!  Sadly, no option to play the voice pronouncing it right now – only text. But, I’ll take it.
  3. Spanish For The Camino – a website that is very helpful. I’m finding I can only handle about 3 or 4 new words per day (I’m showing my age… and also confirming that serving a foreign language Senior mission in my future would be a disaster).

If all else fails, I’ve watched this classic viral video at least ocho veces [8 times?] so maybe I could just sing this song to everyone we meet!

I think it would make an impression, don’t you?

No doubt a very terrible impresión


¡Buen Camino! –  Holly

Update: Read more posts about our Camino experience here.


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