[Argentina] A Rude Linguistic Awakening


It was a week since I’d moved to Argentina and I was procrastinating organising the Spanish lessons that I had emigrated to attend because social anxiety is terrible. I was too scared to call up and organise them because I instinctively feel bad speaking English in countries that don’t have it as a national language, as weird as that sounds when it comes to calling up an institution whose primary purpose is to teach Spanish to people who don’t know any.

Anyway, after much fretting I finally called up the school that I eventually decided on for my 4 months of intensive study. After an embarrassingly meek “¿Tú hablas inglés?” I was able to swallow my pride and book my lessons in English. I would start on Monday.

That weekend, I met up with the porteña (Buenos Aires native) mother of my partner at the time,  to catch up after about six months. Given that I’d had to speak English with her until now, she was excited to hear about my decision to learn Spanish. I was equally excited to show off my attempts at a perfect Spanish accent.

She asked me the name of the school, and I proudly responded, “¡El Pajero!”

I wasn’t expecting her face to drop. Did I pronounce it wrong? She cast a worried glance towards my former partner and then asked me carefully, “Are you sure that school is real?”

Uh, yes. Pretty sure. I called up just the other day to organise my lessons.

“Do make sure you check out the school thoroughly before you pay any money, okay?”

As it turns out, “pajero” is a Spanish word meaning “wanker”. This is why the “Mitsubishi Pajero” is called a “Montero” in Spanish-speaking countries. It’s probably for the best.

Our Old Pajero Junior

The tiny car to the right of the Pajero is the Pajero Junior I drove for a short time when I first moved to Kochi Prefecture, Japan. My little wanker. <3

Thankfully, it turns out that my school was actually called  El Pasaje Spanish School, and I was not being ripped off. And I can tell you that school was worth every peso I paid.

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