Apart from the friendly border guard speaking with a thick American accent and the stamp in my passport stating United State of America Homeland Security, my weekend stop-over could easily have been to a Spanish-speaking country. Thus, it wasn’t. It was Miami, Florida, United States of America. During the weekend my language confusion reached unknown heights.
I don’t have any problem speak English or Spanish but at the same time? Ay, chicos, you are not nice to me! Which language shall I address people in?
Maybe the language confusion for me is bigger because both languages are my secondaries languages. Or maybe it is because I’m from such a homogeny country where we only have one official language? Even though most people in Denmark have a decent level of English, it is not an official language.
I don’t know why but my head was constantly burning; Spanish-English-Spanish-English… AH!
When you enter a shop or restaurant in Miami, you are mostly addressed in English. My standard reaction is to answer people in the language I’m addressed. However, I found it common that almost all Spanish speakers – not just for my Cuban friends –swift to Spanish with the biggest naturalness and expectation of getting a response in Spanish.
Therefore, I was normally responding waiters or shop assistants in English. Whereas my Cuban friends would quickly change to Spanish, and the conversation would then continue in Spanish. How confused do you think I was?
I know that the US does not have an official federal language and that Miami’s bilingual community of, especially, Cubans is huge, so I should not be surprised.
But still, I found it quite strange to be in the US excepting everyone to speak English to me, and then every conversation ended up in Spanish. For sure, Miami lives up to its nickname; Little Havana.