Sunday, 7 July 2013

Reader, I embarrassed myself - twice!

Living in another country can be challenging, even if you don't have the additional problem of learning another language. We have been living in Spain for five years and, although our Spanish is gradually improving, we are far from fluent.  Having said that I do know my numbers, as it's one of the first things you need to learn in a foreign country.  Or so I thought.

Last night we went to the latest concert in the Música entre Vinos series of summer events.  It was held in one of our favourite bodegas, Viña Campanero, so John and I were both looking forward to it. We were pleased when our friend Sheila said she had tickets and was bringing one of her visitors along, so we knew there would be at least four Brits amongst all our Spanish neighbours.
World Music at Bodega Viña Campanero
Only a few days earlier, I had said that it was a long while since I had won anything in a raffle.  Last night they announced that there would be a prize draw, the prize being dinner for two in a favourite restaurant of ours, San Agustín. I was listening carefully as the numbers were called out, looking at our tickets, and I was convinced that I heard "405". Yes!

I showed my "winning" ticket to my friends and the Spanish woman sitting in front of us for confirmation, and nobody disagreed with me, so off I trotted to the stage, excitedly waving my ticket at the organisers. We all kissed each other Spanish style and posed for the cameras as they announced that I was the winner.

It was at this point that my embarrassment started, as another woman came up to the organisers, and she was clutching the winning ticket! I definitely know the Spanish words for the numbers 4, 0 and 5, but obviously I must have misheard. The organisers quickly said that there would be two prizes of dinners for two, which the audience approved of and loudly applauded the decision, but I managed to have a quiet word with Pedro from Restaurante San Agustín afterwards and said that it was my mistake. He kindly suggested that we could go to his restaurant for some tapas anyway. Lovely man, Pedro!

This morning we were on our way to buy the Sunday papers when we heard lots of loud bangs, and a band playing music. Of course, it was the pasacalles for San Fermín, where the statue of the saint is carried around the San Fermín barrio accompanied by music and noisy fireworks. I had my camera in my bag, so I followed the noise while John continued to the paper shop.

I soon tracked the procession down. It looked as if they were having a rest, as the statue was on the ground, while a press photographer was taking photos of the group. Unfortunately for me I was recognised by someone who was keen to get me to join the group. I tried to say "no" as I felt like an intruder, and all I wanted to do was take a couple of photos . My acquaintance, who was acting as if he was my best friend, wasn't having any of it, as he took my camera and then ordered the group to pose for another photo with me in it. Somebody muttered "extranjera" (foreigner) to add to my embarrassment, however help was at hand. "Hola Sue", a voice called out and I spotted Toñi, who is a friend of mine, standing at the back.  She came over to embrace me and announced in a loud voice that I was a "Jumillana" - in other words I'm a local, so I was entitled to be there. Lovely woman, Toñi.  Gracias amiga!

Spot the embarrassed Brit!
Photo taken, I hastily retrieved my camera and went in search of my husband, to tell him about my second embarrassing moment of the weekend. Since then I've kept a low profile - two embarrassing experiences in one weekend is more than enough.


  1. Oh, I am so glad I found your story. You are really funny. Sorry to smile at your misfortune, but you can really craft a story.

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Pamela. I'm so glad that you enjoyed my story! However my dog Lisa really knows how to tell a story - take a look at this:

  3. Oh poor you. I've played bingo in Spanish and know how hard it is to understand the numbers when said at speed and by a Spaniard, fortunately I was never near to having to shout 'Bingo' so never embarassed myself.