Talking Total Bolado

| Van Nuys, CA, USA | Language & Words, Religion, Travel

(I am one of two female missionaries assigned to a Spanish-speaking parish in the San Fernando Valley. All of the parishioners are very supportive of the local missionaries, not to mention friendly. They’re sort of our family away from home at times. This also means that they tease us at times. My fellow missionary is a native of El Salvador, but later moved to Canada.)

Parishioner: “I don’t believe you’re from El Salvador!”

Missionary: “Of course I am! I have the accent! I make pupusas! I was born in San Salvador!”

Parishioner: “Yeah, well, anyone can say that. Sister [My Name] could probably say she’s from San Salvador!”

(I’m redheaded, freckled and have only recently started speaking Spanish fluently, in part because of my fellow missionary’s efforts.)

Missionary: “Someday, you will believe me that we’re from the same country. Just watch!”

Parishioner: “I don’t believe it.”

(Three weeks go by. One day, the missionary drops her favorite ring down the sink by accident. Since this parishioner is a plumber, she calls to ask for advice on how to get it out.)

Parishioner: “Where do you think it is?”

Missionary: “Well, I turned off the water immediately, so I think it’s still stuck in the—” *he tries to think of the word for the pipe or u-bend or the trap or whatever she means to say* “—in el bolado!”

Parishioner: “YOU ARE FROM EL SALVADOR! I’ll be right over to fix it.”

(As soon as the conversation is finished, I speak up.)

Me: “So, the word for the trap is bolado?”

Missionary: “I said the El Salvadorian word for ‘thingamajig.’ Guess it finally convinced him.”

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