Yesterday I had to go to Hospital Chiriquí to pay my insurance premium for the next quarter. There are three people that work in the office, a receptionist, some guy whose job I’m not sure of and the administrator who is a woman who speaks excellent English.
The receptionist speaks some English though we always speak to each other in Spanish. She’s the one who takes the payments and prints out the receipts. She asked me, “¿Qué está pagando hoy?” (What are you paying, today?)
“Más que quiero.” (More than I want to) I said.
There was a chuckle from the administrator’s office. “Your Spanish is getting quite good,” she said in English.
“Gracias,” I replied, “y su Inglés es también.” (Thank you, and your English is, too.”
Big laugh from everyone. Those who don’t learn the language of their adopted country miss out on so much, and I think that, because I’m getting better at talking to my adopted countrymen in their language, I’m leaving a better impression of the gringos who have come here to live.