Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Speaking Spanish at the Airport

My daughter and I we were delayed for about an hour at the Philadelphia International Airport on our way back to Nashville. While we were waiting, we met a very friendly woman from Honduras named Sonia who was leaving her sister in Pennsylvania to visit her two daughters in Nashville. Because she didn't speak much English, Sonia picked me to talk to and relied on my rusty Spanish translations of updates about our departing flight. I was surprised at how much I was able to understand and speak, but I know necessito practicar mucho mas! Talking in another language can be very tiring, for me anyway, because the words aren't always that easily accessible. I've got to search my brain for a lot of the words and phrases and I get very anxious about not being able to communicate properly.

Sonia brought up an interesting point during our conversation. She talked about the lack of bilingual agents at the airport. She said nobody could understand her Spanish questions and she didn't understand a lot of what the agents said. Que triste. (How sad.) Shouldn't airports, especially a place like the Philadelphia INTERNACIONAL Airport, which serves people coming into the U.S. from many different countries, have bilingual translators readily available?

I was relieved when Sonia took a great interest in my daughter and decided to try to teach her some Spanish. That meant I could relax my mind and blank out for a bit. Needless to say, my little lady ate up the attention. At one point Sonia even put my daughter in her lap and started singing to her in Spanish--mi hija was en el cielo.

Muchas gracias Sonia. Mucho gusto.


Mr. Mack said...

I don't know, I remember not being able to find a single spanish speaking server at the INTERNATIONAL house of Pancakes either.

Seriously, it is odd that a major airport like Philly would be so short-sighted, I mean, even from a business perspective.

Cappuccino Soul said...

Mr. Mack,
Yeah. I was surprised that they didn't have bilingual reps also. I wonder if LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark have them. That would be pitiful if they don't.