Friday, July 9, 2010

Adventures in Comprehension!

Hello one and all!

So, for today's post, I've decided to describe some instances about my inability to communicate for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Time: Day 2-3
Place: My host home

At some point on Saturday, my host mom told me that my older host brother was going to eat lunch early (1:30pm is early) at the tennis club in order to be back in time to watch the soccer game. This part of the conversation stuck in my brain; what didn't stick was the fact that a) he was going to do this the next day and b) we were all going with him. So when I awoke the next day in the morning, I'm sorry, I lied, the early afternoon, my host mom told me to get ready quickly because we were leaving soon, in an hour and a half. I went to shower, yet when I came out, the entire family was waiting for me on the driveway, turns out she actually said thirty minutes. I quickly put on some clothes and ran out; once we were on our way, I asked where we were going and if we were going to eat lunch.

Time: Day 10
Place: The house

I called my host mom to tell her I would be late for lunch because our program was meeting to make travel plans after class. Disclaimer: It is hard for me to understand native speakers in person, the telephone is a completely different story (When the phone rings and no one else is home, I refuse to pick it up due to multiple fears which include agreeing to buy something that I cannot afford and hanging up on my host family's friends because I think they are telemarketers). Anyways, my host mom said that was fine and that she was leaving but that when I got home there was ramble ramble murmur, salad, ramble murmur consonant vowel murmur, rolling of the "r" fruit, consonants, vowels, murmur ok ciao! When I got back to the house, I ate salad and fruit which was fine for me, but when my host mom returned, she asked why hadn't I eaten the chicken? She told me there was chicken on the phone, protein is very important, wasn't I so hungry, how about I come and eat lunch now for real? I said that I was full, I was fine, I had eaten plenty. Twenty minutes later, I ate a second lunch of salad, fruit and chicken.

Time: Day 13
Location: The Metro

During peak hours, the metro can get unbearably crowded and if you are towards the back of the car it can be difficult to squeeze through and weave around the massive jigsaw of commuters. So yesterday, as the train approached my stop, I tapped the guy in front of me on the shoulder, attempting to say the following:"Excuse me, are you getting off at the next stop? Because I am and if you aren't will you let me go in front of you so I can get off the train?" Unfortunately, I only knew how to say "Excuse me, are you getting off at the next stop? Because I am" and I believe the connotation was that I wanted him to come with me. He just stared at me, horrified, and I heard him say "mumble mumble not my stop ramble murmur mumble with you no thanks". At this, I turned every shade of red in approximately five seconds and got as far away from him as possible (approximately three feet). One minute later, the longest minute OF MY LIFE, the train stopped and I ran out of the train with my head down and my tail between my legs. Goals: Learn the rest of that sentence and only talk to women on the metro.

Hope you all had a good laugh at my expense! If you have any embarrassing travel tales, do leave them in the comments, I'd love a laugh myself: )

Shout out goes to all the Glee fans out there: Today, I heard "Total eclipse of the heart" on the radio (in English) and nearly cried remembering Rachel's gorgeous rendition of it this past season. I wonder when Glee is coming back/ if it is aired in Chile? Questions to ask.

Happy two week annivesary to Santiago and myself, it's been quite a whirlwind romance! Cheers to moving out of the awkward phase of the relationship and learning how to communicate effectively with one another.

All the love,



  1. Bahahaha! My stories from Chile will be so much worse! But actually, I do have a delightful little mishap in language comprehension of my own. We were in Germany on our Focus trip visiting the Checkpoint Charlie Musuem, and the only German I knew I had learned on the bus between Paris and Bonn. I needed to use the facilities, and the only bathroom I could find was handicapped. I always feel like a bit of a jerk for using one when a guy in a wheel chair could come by at any moment, pero fue una emergencia. I was having trouble locating the flush handle, and had no choice but to conclude that the string hanging from the wall labeled "RUF" must be it. RUF does not mean FLUSH, but rather ALARM. I left the bathroom nonchalantly, but then noticed the flashing light above the door and the sound of the alarm and hightailed it out of there. I was met by many stares from various onlookers, so I curtly replied "Ich weiss nicht", which literally means "I know not" in German. The sad thing is I could hear the alarm all the way through the museum for about another half hour or so. I was quite disappointed in the museum's emergency response, and I left a comment in the suggestion box. I was also too embarrassed to tell anyone in my class that the incident was my doing for about two days. Hope you enjoyed my tale!

  2. Abby!
    I loved your stories and actually did laugh out loud at you. So I figured it was only fair to share a few stories back. When I was in Italy last summer a bunch of us were at a ristorante in Florence about a week into the trip. The bread arrived, and, being Americans, we wanted some olive oil with it. There was also a dish in the center of the table, so after some debate we poured some olive oil into it. Just as everybody was dipping in, the waiter came back. He gave us all a scandalized look, whisked the dish out from under us, and snapped "quest'è per le candele!" (this is for the candles). Needless to say, we were mortified, especially since that was at the very beginning of the meal. Later on, countless issues arose with spoken menus--in Bologna we had a waiter almost shouting at us trying to get the stupid Americans to understand the difference between tortell-O-ne (which in the US we call tortellini) and tortell-I-ni which don't exist in the US. They are miniature and only served in broth.
    Ciao, mia cara!