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Tuesday, 01 May 2018

Goin' Rogue in Spain

Written by J. Jennifer Gadwah
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Careening toward self-doubt, which was swiftly followed by a silent bug-eyed panic, I endeavored to stuff the big wad of Spanish pesetas back into the ATM. It was 1996. I was in Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain. Having just returned from celebrating Thanksgiving in Rome, Italy, with a fellow American study abroad student, I was tired. All I could think was – “Holy-holy. Why is this ATM spitting out so many bills?”


To dash ahead, I didn’t end up stuffing the colorful foreign money back into the mysterious “wall of wealth,” as I quickly realized that the ATM had, in fact, given me the correct requested amount. Thankfully I hadn’t requested an insanely exorbitant amount of money, either – like the equivalent of $2,000 American dollars instead of $200. Phew.


It just goes to show you that calculating the exchange rate of American dollars to Spanish pesetas to Italian lire, then back to Spanish pesetas, is enough to turn any twenty-year-old’s brain to mush. After all, I didn’t want to be arrested for taking too much money from this rogue robot. What would my parents say if I ended up in some Spanish clink?! Surely they’d be forced to fly over and rescue me.


Then there was the time when another American study abroad friend accidentally ordered chocolate milk while we were out at a trendy Madrid nightclub. Why chocolate milk? Neither of us knows. Sufficed to say, something horribly tragic had happened when she tried to translate – “Can I have a Vodka with Fanta de limón, please?” This wondrous Mediterranean citrus drink had somehow morphed into a “How now, Brown Cow.” We broke into laughter when the tall gray glass of dairy was placed soberly, oddly, at our table. Americans, pfff!

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Last modified on Tuesday, 01 May 2018
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