Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A post of Oops!!

I thought I should mention some of my "oops" moments because I have had a few funny ones since I have been here...

1) I asked my host family if there was any "sopa," or rather, "soap" for me to use to wash my clothes. They gave me a very funny look and that is when I realized I needed to brush up on my Spanish: "sopa" is a false cognate for "soap"--meaning that the words sound alike but have totally different meanings. "Sopa" actually means soup so I had asked them if I could wash my clothes with soup :) Lucky for me I caught this careless error and fixed it to "jabón" (the real word for soap but reminds me too much of the word "jamón" which means ham which is another food that I would not want to wash my clothes with). 

2) I was having a convo with a group of people and they were saying something about people they don't like and how they wanted to "darles una galleta." I was so confused because this means "to give them a cookie." She then explained to me that it's an expression that is the same as wanting to punch somebody in the face. Makes more sense now, of course :) Maybe it's just me, but I feel like my host family only talks in slang/colloquial phrases.

3) I spit my grape seeds out and got weird looks from the rest of the family. The grapes here have seeds, but not just one seed, they have four. This makes them too pesky to take out with a knife so I usually eat the grape and then discreetly take the seeds out of my mouth. Clearly that is not done here, apparently you're supposed to eat the seeds. Mmm seeds. 

4) Here is a good one: last night my host dad said something to me but I didn't understand him because he talks quickly and quietly (which is hard to the foreign ear).  After three times of asking him to repeat what he said I finally heard it: "Your Spanish has improved a lot since you've been here." Only I'm sure that after his third time of repeating the sentence, he really wanted to take that compliment back!

5) Yesterday I went to the school café and asked for "una manzanilla" which is chamomile tea. I happened to have an apple (una manzana) in my hand and the guy behind the counter smiled and asked me if I would like a smaller apple than the one I'm holding, or a tea. I answered very matter-of-factly "a tea" (wondering why the heck he thought I wanted another apple). That's when I realized "manzanilla" can be interpreted as "little apple" and that he was making a joke. By the time I made the connection it was too late to laugh. Aiii he probably thinks I'm a stiffie. 

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