Today I found myself in a bus from The Hague central station to where I live. My attention was immediately drawn to a lady speaking in Spanish. I believe I stared at her, because my eyes met the eyes of a lady who noticed I was staring. Her eyes moved quickly from me to the loud Spanish speaking lady. Reason why I stared was that she spoke Speedy-Gonzales-Spanish. Up until now I hadn’t heard anyone speaking Spanish that quickly. My brains were working overtime to understand each and every word. I know, this comes across like eavesdropping and I don’t want to be rude, but I was so much impressed by her speed of talking. It came down to understanding some words and phrases.
In my head thoughts started to circle around and around. Shall I speak to her? Wouldn’t that seem weird to her and to all the passengers in the bus? What shall I say? Could it be that she is talking that fast, because of any disease? Oh, no, if that was the case, it would be very awkward to have a small talk. What I really wanted to share with her was how impressed I was. I stopped all the circling thoughts and decided just to do it, because otherwise I would regret it. Right after my decision her phone made a loud noise. She looked at the back, our eyes caught and I smiled at her. She smiled back. I saw my chance and moved from my seat to a seat behind her and said ‘Disculpe’ (excuse me) and off I went.
We had a really nice talk. I discovered that she is Colombian and that all Colombians talk fast like that. Well that was her opinion, because I have met Colombians before and their speed of talking never struck me in a way as with this lady. She has almost lived her whole life in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband. They have one child, a son, 33 years old and moved back to Colombia and is raising his three kids there together with his wife. She works in healthcare and only speaks Spanish with her husband and when she is back in Colombia. Her life is in Dutch.
She also shared with me that Dutch people don’t talk as loud in public transport as Colombians do. I know, I said, but I’m used to it, because Chinese people talk loud as well. I very much enjoyed our ‘small’ talk which in fact ended in sharing more with each other than what we think of the weather or things happening in and around public transport. Yes, it was the right decision to go and talk to her.