I’m not sure I fully understand how this whole office job works. I get the feeling that I could do the bare minimum and I’d still be showered with praise as usual. I understand I’m there to make procasasac.com but I think my second purpose is mostly ornamental. Like the kids at Almeria, I think my co-workers enjoy having a gringuita around whom they can show off.

Today I was invited to a business lunch. Our client Raul invited us to his house to talk pricing on a condominium project that he commissioned Procasa to design and construct. Now, why was I invited? I struggle to string Spanish sentences together and my grasp of the past tense is still really shaky. To say I chimed in from time to time is probably an exaggeration.

While I tried to focus on the Spanish and could understand mostly everything that was said, halfway through the first course of our meal my mind drifted toward worrying about whether my stomach could handle the food. Raul’s wife had prepared a kilo and a half of white fish ceviche and placed a glass baking dish brimming with spicy lime juice and raw fish chunks right in front of me. I slowly chewed my way through the juice-logged fish and politely denied seconds.

Ceviche anxiety aside, I perked up at the mention of Los Estados Unidos. Ah ha, perhaps I could contribute! Turns out Raul and his wife frequent the states and have lots of family living in Las Vegas. They even talked about opening their own Peruvian restaurant in Sin City. But that turned out to be mostly talk, because both Raul and his wife said living and working in the U.S. is basically impossible unless you can speak English.

I sort of nodded along to the rest of the conversation, pretending I could relate as a native English speaker. Although I didn’t exactly exercise my conversation words today, at least I better understood my role within Procasa. USA connection.

November 9, 2013