I am so thankful for…
working in a cross cultural community where we learn and grow together.
We may be from different places, peoples, and languages, but when we laugh, it is the same. We laugh till our bellies ache and our eyes water. There is richness deep in the spirit, working with people of different cultures and backgrounds. It’s quite beautiful, actually. (And great fun, too!) See below, just a few of my fond memories (and experiences of recent):
a few years ago
african american coworker: (speaking chinese) bu hao… (he shakes his head as he is working on my other coworker’s computer)
me: (I abruptly turn around, realizing he just spoke chinese) What did you say?!
asian coworker#1: (laughing) he said ‘not good..’
me: I’ve worked here for how long now, with all the chinese speakers, but i’m learning chinese from the black guy?
african american coworker: (winks at me, with a look that says, ‘you just got schooled..!’)
many months ago
asian coworker#2: I started my spanish course yesterday.
me: that’s awesome!
asian coworker #2: yeah, it’s not too hard! we learned our first phrase last night, ‘como esta? (how are you?)’
My husband said that one is easy. All you have to say is, ‘Come on Esther!’
me, on the phone: ‘Hola, soy la enfermera en la clinica….’ (Hi, I’m a nurse at the clinic….)
patient: (silence) hello? (with a slight french accent) I don’t understand.
me: Oh. OOPS! Wrong language! (trying to shift gears to French but..) ‘Oui! Errr…. Je ne parle pas francais bien (I don’t speak French well)….
patient: (now thinking that I speak French, she begins spewing out French really fast) I wanted to talk to you about …
me: (uhhh… yes… that’s correct. I mean.. ) Err… c’est vrai! (it’s true!)
asian coworker #3: oooh.. mi corozona! (she is expressing adoration for another coworker)
me: what did you just say? (because corozona is not a legit word in spanish)
asian coworker #3: i’m just quotin’ our other coworker.
latina coworker: yeah, she said it to me the other day and i just looked at her confused. then she explained.
” you know how spanish pps be sayin, ‘oh, mi corazon‘ (oh, my heart/ my love)? well… i thought you can throw an ‘A‘ at the end of it.
muchacho= boy , muchacha = girl
corazon= heart , corazonA = heart, but referring to a girl.
so she pretty much just made up her own word.
i laughed so hard i had to stop myself from rolling on the floor.
and a few minutes later…
me: what’s a papichulo?
asian coworker #4: girl you don’t know and you claim to be certified in spanish?
me: I only know formal Spanish, I don’t know slang…
asian coworker #4: Tito! why you be askin’ me what everything means…”
(i still don’t understand what she means when she says, Tito! )
patient#2: You can call me “Pah” (auntie, in Lao)
me: Okay, Pah. Khawb kom (thank you)!
patient#2: No.. khawb kom is Thai, khawb jai is Lao.
me: Oh. Oops. Khawb Jai, Pah !
~ ~ ~
Through these experiences, I am humbled and realize how much I have to learn. This is just one of many things i’m grateful for, as part of the weekly grad-itude 101 series. Thanks Esther for sharing the link with me =)