How do you say three-hole punch?
Polly, Genevieve and I had to go shopping yesterday for some necessities. We asked "the girls" (the simple term for the three single girls that live in the apartment right next to ours at the language school) if they needed anything. They asked if we could keep an eye out for a three-hole punch. No problem, right?
Well, you would think I would have at least done the work of determining the spanish word for three-hole punch before I left the house, but I did not. Neither did I have access to the internet where I was. I hoped beyond all hope that I would just find it without having to ask a single question. You know as well as I did that there was no chance it would be that easy.
What was I to do? I didn't even know enough words to throw something together. Then, the lightbulb went on. I found a spanish-english dictionary on one of the shelves. I picked out two easy-to-pronounce words, one for hole and one for punch. I knew that it wouldn't be the right word but I hoped it would get my idea across.
I went up to the first employee I saw and began...
Perdon. Yo no hablo bien el español. (With full hand-motions going) Tiene un hoyo poncho para papel...uno, dos, tres.The employee looked right at me and said,
Do you need one-hole, two-hole or three-hole punch?Yep, he spoke english (not all that common here). I couldn't help but laugh. In case you ever need to know, it's called a "perforadora" in spanish.
Why would you like to return this?
Genevieve received two of the same gifts for her birthday. One of our friends gave us the receipt so we could return it. I had already successfully returned some stuff to one store here but forgot the word I used and it took 20-30 minutes. We went to the service desk and received the question we weren't prepared for, "Porque."
What do we tell them when we don't speak the language. In Polly's mind, she thought about the fact that Genevieve got two of them for her birthday. How could she say that though? She simply replied, "dos." The women looked at us like saying "two" by itself simply would not suffice.
I finally came up with the best I had, (pointing at Genevieve) Ella tiene la mismo (yes, I know that's not grammatically correct, but it's what came to mind). That apparently worked well enough because we were able to exchange it after all.