Friday, August 24, 2007

Two Firsts, One Night Shift

First first. My father is a smart man. However, he gave me bad advice in high school. He told me not to take a language in 7th grade and to concentrate on other subjects. I don't recall what they were. Then, in eighth grade he told me to take Latin. I did, for a year. "Marcus Iulium pulsat". "Roma in Italia est". That's it.

Then, in ninth grade he advised that I take French as it is the "language of diplomacy". Great choice. So now I have to learn Spanish and while French and Spanish are structurally very similar there is really not much crossover. I'm told that Italian and Spanish are VERY similar but that's no help either.

So tonight I took care of a French speaker and damned if I didn't understand almost everything he said. Problem, I answered him in franish. Merde!

Second first. I had to call the South African consulate (not really South Africa but it will serve for the purpose of HIPPA) regarding one of their citizens who got beat all to hell tonight by some local thug gang-bangers. In front of me he tried to die and he had, by CT scan, an intra-cranial bleed from the beating. I intubated him stat and flew him to the trauma center. We had no contact number for his family but I did have his passport. I then googled for the South African consulate and, after 10 minutes on hold, spoke with a nice gal who took all the information down and will work on family contact and provide him, if he lives, with assistance during his recovery. The Emergency Department, for all its faults, is rarely boring.


  1. J'utilise le francais de temps en temps pour les africains pour la plupart...rarement pour les vietnamiens aussi.

    Of course, Spanish would have been better, but I certainly show off when the opportunity arises. Like now, for instance.

  2. J'utilise le français de temps en temps aussi, mais puisque je suis toujours un étudiant et je ne prends plus des cours de français, je ne l'utilise pas souvent.

    Think I got that right.

  3. holy crap...I actually understood those comments! I DID retain some french!

    I, too, took many years of French in grade school, never to use it again, and then one semester of Spanish in college, followed up by a crashcourse by tape, book, and 3 weeks in a Central American language course several years later. And yeah, I certainly know the feeling of responding to someone in frenish.

  4. I realize I am late on this post. I could not help but comment.
    I was quite fluent in german after living in Germany for 5 years and of course studying it in school. Now of course, german is absolutley useless to me.
    I have slowly gained the the ability to understand about every third word when someone is speaking spanish, provided they are not machine gunning their speech (the tendency to speak quite fast and very loud).
    I recently discovered a terrible disconnect.
    When I think in a different language, I think in german.
    Automatically, german comes out of my mouth and they still don't know what the h*ll I am saying.
    Nice to know I am not alone.

  5. I took 2 years of Spanish, I only used it once during a vacation to Mexico, where I talked to a local lady in Spanish, and called my wife "my husband".

    Local Mexican lady was nice enough not to laugh.