From the moment we landed in Quito, Joe became Jose and, although he hasn’t used it in years, his Spanish was fluent. What a gift to be able to communicate with local people and navigate easily in this Spanish speaking country. My university Spanish helps me to understand the gist of conversations and Joe fills in the gaps of the bits that I miss. I have discovered that I need only three Spanish words to communicate my feelings. (Well the permanent smile on my face also communicates a lot!)
1) EXCELENTE!: which I use to express ‘excellent,’ ‘that’s great,’ ‘wow,’ and ‘cool.’
2) PERFECTO!: meaning ‘perfect,’ ‘this is all so perfect,’ and ‘what a perfect moment!, and also ‘we are so lucky!’
3) GRACIAS!: ‘Thank you,’ and also ‘I am so grateful to be here!’
In addition to these three words, three Spanish expressions are essential for living in Cotacachi. These are ‘Buenos Dias’ (good morning), ‘Buenas Tardes’ (good afternoon), and ‘Buenas Noches’ (good evening). If you can’t remember these, don’t worry, you would know them by the end of the first day. When walking in Cotacachi, everyone greets everyone – young and old, Indigenous, Mestizo and Gringo. If you can’t remember the right expression to use, just smile and wait and they will greet you first and you can reply in kind.
It really is a lovely, gentle place and we are so happy to be here. I know my Spanish will come. In the meantime – Excelente!, Perfecto!, and GRACIAS!!!