“I am sweating!”
The park ranger and I called this phrase to each other in Spanish as we waved goodbye.
My recent trip to Panama was a collection of palabras, of words.
“Estoy sudando” or “I am sweating” was one phrase I eagerly collected as I made conversation with a guard at Parque Natural Metropolitano in Panama City. He spoke no English. I was on my first day of an 11-day language learning vacation.
As I lingered with the ranger, waiting for a taxi, all I wanted to say was that I was very sweaty after my hike through the park. Hard as it may be to believe, the word “sweat” was not one I knew in Spanish, so I tried to use my somewhat limited vocabulary to describe the word I was looking for.
“Como se dice cuando hay algo como agua en tu piel? Porque hace calor?” I asked. “How do you say when there is something like water on your skin? Because it is hot out?”
A blank look.
“Cuando hace calor y es como agua… Y tu piel es rojo…” I continued, motioning at my arms and face, making a fanning motion. “When it is hot and it is like water… And your skin is red…”
My attempts at circumnavigating the word fell flat until I raised my arm and made a circular gesture at my armpit to indicate where most people showed off their best sweat stains.
“Ah! Sudar! Estás sudando!” he exclaimed. And so my first new Spanish word was collected. (more…)