Sunday, April 5, 2009

lost in translation

A Brit, and Aussie, and an American walk into a bar…well, not really, but it sounds clever, doesn’t it?

Actually, I just flew in to the Brit's house for the weekend to catch up with my friend who's visiting from Australia for a few weeks.

When I first met D, my Aussie friend, back when we lived in California, I realized that even though we technically speak the same language, communication is not always straightforward.

One time she left a message on my answering machine, “Hey! Do you mind bringing supper for the group tomorrow night?” I listened to the message and thought, “Well, she has some nerve…asking me to bring supper for the entire group!” (We were in a bible study group together that met at her house.)

When I called her, I asked what she had in mind—spaghetti maybe?

“Nah, just a packet of cookies or something.”

Of course. Supper. A light snack.

And so we learned to overcommunicate everything to avoid misunderstanding.

I found myself chuckling yesterday at all of the ways we clash cultures. The Brit has a teenage daughter who asked for a “ham toasty” for lunch. I expected some kind of grilled cheese sandwich, or at least, ham. Nope. It was two pieces of toast with some turkey in the middle. A ham toasty.

Last night we had the loveliest curry for dinner--er, tea--and I noticed everyone used their knifes except me. For curry over rice. How they put up with this barbaric American, i'll never know. But I'm glad they do. My life is richer for knowing them.

Now, I’m off to the coffee shop to get my morning caffeine fix. Not that I don’t enjoy a cup of instant coffee now and then, but, well, um. Right. I’ll be back.


Mandy said...

I just love learning what other people in the world call things. You've even taught me some new ones in this post!

Marmot Mom said...

Oooh! Sounds so fun! Wish I were with you this weekend. Life is getting way too overwhelming around here for my taste...

Llama Momma said...

Marmot mom -- I hear you! That's why I jumped on the opportunity to just hang out for the weekend! And as I type this, I realize you know my Aussie friends too! Would you believe Josh is a TEENAGER now? (And one of the nicest I've ever met!)

Back home today...

Patty Kyrlach said...

Sounds like you had a blast. I'm so happy that you got to go! The languages gaffes are hilarious!

ChosenRebel said...

I'm going to take your post and share it with the Aussie in my church planting class. He is actually the father in law of one of my former students and the two of them (Current and former students) are going to plant a church together. i think they are going to have a great laugh over the post.