121120-graceBuenas a todos and welcome to Grace’s On Location Spanish update. Being that I am somewhat of a fair-skinned Scot, I am pleased to report that this week in Valencia we’ve had some wind and, would you believe it, some rain. Perhaps in an ideal world none of us would ever have to change out of our summer wardrobe, but on the upside I now have an excuse to go shopping for winter clothes on Valencia’s Calle Colón, which is well served by its public transport and fantastic for retail therapy.

Being around international students, what I have come to realise is that around these parts, the odd language mistake really can’t be avoided. With this in mind I’d like to tell you about a phrase I was told over the past week when things just weren’t going quite right. As we studied for the impending doom that was our first Economics exam, an exasperated Belén admitted to me:

Estoy pez en mates.
I don’t know the first thing about maths.

Having once before heard the expression “estoy como pez en el agua” (“I’m in my element”) I was briefly filled with hope for Spain’s economy, but worried that I was alone in my poor maths skills. With the help of my friend Antonio I got to the bottom of the correct meaning and learned that mates can be changed for other fields of expertise, giving you a nice way of expressing how rubbish you are at something. After all, many of us out there that have a grandmother who can’t use her mobile phone:

Mi abuela está pez en tecnología.
My gran is no good with technology.

On a brighter note, I was also fortunate enough this week to come across an alternative to the pedestrian “todo va bien” (“everything’s going well”). On asking my friend Monica about her exam, I was encouraged to see a grin on her face, but a little perplexed by her response:

Como una balsa de aceite.
It went swimmingly.

As this idiomatic little phrase literally means “like a pool of oil” in English, its sentiments were initially lost on me. Now that I know what it means, I hope to use it to describe the rest of my exams!

Until next time, I hope your Spanish is coming along swimmingly and that you have enjoyed this week’s blog. I’ll keep you posted on all my silly mistakes and little victories. Join me again soon for more On Location Spanish. ¡Hasta Pronto!

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