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Spanish Words I Wish I’d Never Learned (Part II)


Ritmo is, quite simply, rhythm. It is an inoffensive word which might even seem happy and full of life if you are in a good mood. The problem isn’t so much that I learned the word but rather when I did so. At the end of our Spanish classes the teachers threw a party and put on some extremely loud salsa music. A couple of them came over and asked me whether I liked to dance. I was so intoxicated with the atmosphere that I inexplicably said that “sí, tengo ritmo”. My excuse for saying that I have rhythm is that I didn’t know how to say “I have two left feet, I am tone deaf and the last time I was on a dance floor Rick Astley was probably number one”. They dragged me in front of everyone and taught some salsa moves while I proved once and for all that gringos can’t dance and shouldn’t be allowed near dance floors.


The bathroom may be a traditionally unglamorous part of the house but it is a word that every language student has to learn at some point. The problem is that my notoriously dodgy stomach has a habit of forcing me to ask where the baño is in the most inconvenient places. Small towns in the middle of long bus journeys tend to be the worst and I still shiver when I remember the bathroom which turned out to be a hole in the ground with two concrete footrests in front of it.