Monday, April 20, 2009

The Waiting Room

I have recently been spending a lot of time in various waiting rooms here in Paraguay and in one particular waiting room, I realized something. Paraguay is a unique kind of place.

I walk into the room, a small room which only seats about 10 people and on the walls and doors are signs and advertisements in Spanish. One would expect this. We are in the capital city of a South American country, after all.

Spanish looks like this: John 3:16 - Spanish
Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.

After taking a seat, my husband and I each reach for magazines. The one he picks up happens to be in Portuguese. There are many Brazilians living in Paraguay and in the last office I was in an irate Brazilian woman was having a difficult time making herself understood. She would have enjoyed a Portuguese magazine, I suppose.The rest of us would have liked for her to have had a magazine to read!!!

To entertain ourselves, we read the Portuguese magazine. This is fairly simple to do as the written Portuguese resembles Spanish. I can understand some written Portuguese and did develop an ear for the language in the jungle because the only radio station we could pick up was Brazilian.

Portuguese looks like this: John 3:16 Porque Deus amou o mundo de tal maneira que deu o seu Filho unigênito, para que todo aquele que nele crê não pereça, mas tenha a vida eterna.

After working our way through that magazine, my husband gets up to inspect an open Bible on a stand across the room. This is a Christian doctor who is attached to the Baptist Hospital, so it is not surprising to find a Bible here. However, it is a German Bible. That makes perfect sense here because there are many German Mennonite immigrants and many frequent this doctors office as he is Mennonite as well.

My husband returns to his seat and begins to look at my magazine which also happens to be in German. We do not do as well in translating the German as we had done with the Portuguese. We give up and begin entertaining one another with outlandish possible translations of words which remind us of something in some other language.

German looks like this: John 3:16 - German
Denn so hat Gott die Welt geliebt, daß er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab, damit jeder, der an ihn glaubt, nicht verloren gehe, sondern ewiges Leben habe

During all this time, it is quite common to hear a word or phrase of Guarani thrown around by the others in the area.

Guarani looks like this: John 3:16
Tupf ¥andey ra ohayhu etere¡gui yvyp¢ra ku‚rape, ome'† va'ekue Ta'wra petexet‚, opa umi hese oyerovi va ani haguf o¤ehundi, oguereko haguf uvei pe tekove tapia guarf.

Finally, we are ushered in to see the doctor, where we converse in English, as he is Canadian.

The small waiting room was a microcosm of the country of Paraguay with all its various peoples, languages and cultures.

English looks like this: John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


Findalis said...

Sounds like a waiting room I found myself in while I was living in Israel. Were the magazines 10 years out of date too?

Lady Glamis said...

Wow! Not like that here... Thanks for sharing this! Definitely unique!

Brooke said...

Wow, that's kind of cool.

Interesting how different and how similar language can be.

John_n_Tascha_Piatt said...

wow - all those languages...
our pediatricians waiting room is about 3/4 Spanish mags with the rest in English...

Anonymous said...

The Tower of Babel sounds like to me.

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

I love it! :)

Betty said...

Great post Rita!! So true!
Good job with the German too.

Joy said...

Now that's variety.


GutsyWriter said...

That is so interesting. I wonder what the Canadian Doctor was like> What a mixture. That's what I love about foreign countries. Always something to learn.

ABNPOPPA said...

That was pretty neat. I once rented a room in Spain while I was in the ARMY. I spoke to the manager in German who replied in German. When I stumbled on a word and muttered to myself in English he immediately replied in English. He was from Great Britian and living in Spain. It turned out to be a very enjoyable stay.

What stories I imagine you and your family could tell about multi-cultural experiences.

That's for the kind words about the love of my life. It was so nice of you.

God Bless,


Brenda said...

I can just picture it all. . . .what was on the TV ;)

Kathy said...

How fun to keep you occupied while waiting! Hope everything is all right!!!

Pam said...

Loved this post! What a world we live in these days, it shrinks smaller and smaller! Can you imagine in our parent's younger days, being in an environment like that?