The other day Miguel asked me why I don’t use the washer at the posada. I said that I really like the lady at the Laundromat. And, I realized that the laundry lady, the coffee shop baristas, taxi and bus drivers, even the miniature businessman all are an important part of my Spanish education.
This is one of the reasons I decided to pay thirty pesos (less than three dollars) to have a trenza (braid) woven into my hair. The woman was delightful. Instead of calling me honey, sweetie, or dahling (as she might in English), her terms of endearment included: Mi amor (my love), mi reina (my queen), and querida (beloved). At one point in the process, she said, please select three beads to put in the braid, my love. She did not use the imperative form, she used the super-polite conditional, one that I have only heard in examples in the classroom. Sitting on an overturned bucket in a bustling market, I not only got a beautiful red and black braid, I got a hands-on education.