28 October 2015

Brits Abroad

cómo está tu español 

If you understood that then you're 100% better at Spanish than me.

To be honest, any language other than English isn't my strong point...actually, thinking about it I still struggle a fair bit with the English language too...

Right, I know by now that you must be thinking what the hell is this post all about - well I'm going to tell you...and quickly too before you leave, never to return, thinking I'm a bit of a weirdo.

Today I want to talk to you guys about the language barrier that us Brits sometimes face when we venture abroad.

I've not experienced this problem myself for a few years (unfortunately!) and that's not because I've mastered the Spanish language or anything, I've just not managed to get myself off on a holiday for a very long time - but here's hoping this will change in 2016.

I can't really complain though, I know I'm luckier than most because growing up I was taken away on my fair share of overseas breaks, it was the one thing my whole family really looked forward to, especially with both parents always working full time - it was always a nice, well-earned, longed for break for them both.

Our holidays were never straight forward though as my mum was scared of flying, which meant we had to travel to Spain each and every year by coach and boat.

It wasn't a problem for me growing up - it turned a 14 day holiday into a 17 day one and no one needs to grumble about that.

 I have some really great memories from our coach journeys too - we spent hours watching movies, playing card games and taking part in all of the games run by the coach staff.

The only down side was the dreaded one toilet!

You can imagine the relief on all of the passengers faces when we pulled into the service stations during throughout the journey can't you...

As we always holidayed to Spain, you'd think at school I would have chosen to study Spanish wouldn't you - make my life a little easier, but nope, not me, I chose French, and for the simple reason that I found it hilarious how a lot of the words sounded rude.

,,,and there was probably a cute girl in that class or something...

Anyway, if you studied French you may remember a few of the ruder words that had me and my mate howling with laughter... 

To the bank = à la Banque
 But the way our teacher pronounced it, it sounded more like "a la bonk"...

...which for some reason doesn't sound as funny as it used to...

To the swimming pool = à la piscine

...I don't think I need to explain why this one was so funny...

You have to bear in mind that this was a very long time ago now, I'm sure there were many more inappropriate translations made in class but these really stick out in my mind
(If you can think of any please let me know in the comments)

As you can imagine, I didn't do all that well in French in the end.
I did really enjoy it but I just couldn't put the sentences together.
I once did do really well on a written test actually, but it was only because I copied my best mate - and ended up getting a better mark than him, don't ask me how but we still joke about it now when we see each other.

So, back to my yearly holiday's in Spain.

My maturity levels over the French words very much so crossed over when it came to my love of the odd Spanish phrase too...

Here's a few of my favourites:

Thank you = gracias
This was by far my favourite, just because it sounds like "grassy ass" - I'm sure I'm not the only person in the UK who still finds this hilarious...and obviously this is the first Spanish word I taught my son.

How much does it cost =  cuanto cuesta
This was only funny when the currency was the peseta and not the euro because when the shop keeper answered an x amount of pesetas I would answer "How many potatoes?" and then run off howling...

I know, I know - poor joke, but when I was a kid I thought it was amazing.

And then there's my all time favourite "abroad" joke - I still love it now:

What do you call a Spanish stripper?

Señor Willy!

Señor Willy...Seen Your Willy...

Did you laugh?


I didn't think so...but my son thinks it's funny so that will do me.

Now that I'm a grown up (or supposed to be) the phrases I use the most have totally changed.

The main one I use, and I'm sure a big percentage of Brits abroad use this too is:

"Can I have a beer please?"

And this is how I say it...


Trust me - it works every time.

How do you order a beer abroad ?

Check out the Jacamo blog page to find out how to order a beer in 7 different languages

 I think the the lingo us Brits on holiday use the most is common no matter where we are around the world.


These are the four words I think you could use in places all over the world, let alone just in Europe, words that you could say in English and people would always know what you mean.

I would love to know if you can relate to any of this post, if any of the words or phrases I have mentioned mean anything to you and which are your favourites.

Please let me know in the comment section below.


This post was done in collaboration with Jacamo for their Brits abroad campaign, all words and views are my own.

No comments

Post a Comment

Blogger Template Created by pipdig