The other day we noticed the water coming out of our fridge door dispenser was not as cold as usual.  The freezer compartment, on the other hand, was VERY cold (as in rock hard ice-cream).  Hmmmm…  A few days into “Hmmmmm…”, the fridge was clearly not cooling at all.  “Hmmm…” quickly turned into “Uh Oh!”. 

I called a fridge/AC repair guy we had used in the past but he recently had a fall and was on bed rest.  My local sources provided me with another local guy who is bilingual, but I was unable to reach him.  I decided to venture out into the unknown and try my luck with the one appliance repair firm listed in the area. 

In our interactions locally, we have started avoiding asking people we interact with whether they “Habla Ingles?”.  Instead, we try to do our best to communicate in Spanish.  We start off by explaining that “Lo siento, mi Espanõl es muy malo” (“I’m sorry, my Spanish is very bad”).  Unfortunately, we say this line so well now, that people think we are being modest and proceed to speak back to us in very very rapid Spanish. 

Fortunately, I was able to communicate to the friendly woman on the line that our fridge (nevera) was broken and we needed a technician.  Her English (which she eventually fell back on, after a few too many “Lo siento, no entiendo” from me) was very good and we had an appointment set for the next day.  Amusingly, she did a quick phone number check to make sure she had our number right (I had to give it to her in a combo of English and Spanish as she was having a hard time understanding my accent in both…).

We were very relieved when the technician did phone the next day.  However, he spoke even less English than we do Spanish.  No worries,  I managed to arrange a meeting point so we could show him back to our place and he quickly diagnosed our problem:  A faulty (as in dead) thermostat.  He replaced the culprit and (with the help of his colleague back in the office) explained to us that we need to fully defrost the freezer so cannot switch the fridge back on for 24 hours. 

Intimidating as they may be, these little interactions where we have to use our budding language skills are really impotant and also somewhat empowering.  Eventually, we hope we will not have to depend on the bilingual person in the office but for now, ” Poco a poco” continues to be our mantra.  And, I’m happy to report, we now have a fridge that works  (and is very very clean)!