Buddhaful Britt

C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day

Funny Intercultural Mishaps

A friend shared a story with me today. Our relationships mirror each other in many ways, so naturally, I started thinking about how colorful my life has become since meeting Manny.

She wrote:

For your entertainment it is now story time.
A potential ongoing series which I call, “Tales from a mixed household.”

I’m in the kitchen making a burrito for my adoring husband while he sits in the next room rocking the baby to sleep. I glance at the clock and think to myself, ‘No way!’

I call out to Amir and say “Is it really 3:00? Is this clock right?”

Amir dutifully answers by yelling out “WHORE!”

I stop, hands frozen in mid air. I blink for a bit as I scan my brain for anything that this might have meant.

‘No’ I think. ‘My loving husband did not just call me a whore. Let’s give this another whirl.’

“Sorry babe. What did you say?”

A clear and concise reply comes again from the next room.

“WHORE!”

Trying to decide if I should laugh or unleash my wrath, I take a deep breath and compose myself. I set the food down and walk into the doorway of the next room.

“Ummmm baby… did you just call me a whore?”

Amir looks up and cocks his head slightly to the side in confusion.

I stare.

“Whore means “of course” in Punjabi. Why? What did you hear?”

“Nothing. I heard nothing.”

Never in a million years… never could I have imagined watching my life’s destiny play out the way it has. If you would have told me twenty years ago that I would eventually marry an Indian man, in India, who I met on this thing called “Facebook,” I would have thought you were on some seriously heavy drugs.

My life choices have never been normal, but… life really is better than fiction.

Today, I sat back and thought about how much more colorful my life has become since making this giant leap into the unknown. I began to think about how boring life would be without traveling the world, and having these funny little tales to tell.

Language, race, and cultural differences are breeding grounds for embarrassing moments of uncertainty, but also hilarious stories which last a lifetime. I was reminded of when I lived in Mexico City.

( re-blogged from my article, JUST ASK)

My boss who speaks zero Espanol had asked me to go to Sam’s club (yes, Sam’s club in Mexico) to get some peanut butter and jelly to keep in the office during our 18 hour work days.

Well, at what point would I have learned these words?

Peanut butter and jelly?  In Spanish…YIKES

Anyway, wandering around the store I found a yellow bag of M&M’s and brilliantly tried to explain to an employee that I want the “thing” that was inside the chocolate.

With confused look on her face she said, “cacaguate?”

Now, in Costa Rica the name for peanut is “mani” so I am completely lost, but I smile an uncertain American smile and say “si?”

Once the peanut situation was under control, I tried to connect the two words and ask for “butter.”

“Cacaguate mantequilla!” I proclaimed.

She laughed and said “crema?” Peanut… creme?

OK… (sigh).

After a silly game of back and forth, I finally had the peanut butter in my hand, and assumed the jelly should be in close vicinity correct?

Wrong.

I started to think to myself quickly, “OK in England they call jelly “preserves” so, I’ll just do the old gringo trick by adding an “O” at the end of a similar word!  That should work!!!”

Again, I ask confidently for “preservativo de uva,” grape jelly… I think?  She calls over a friend; they giggle at me and send me to the pharmacy.

I never did find that jelly.

Sorry Boss!

After returning to the hotel, I asked our trainees how to say jelly, they tell me jelly is called “mermalada.”

MARMALADE???? UGHHH, who uses marmalade?

I tell them my dramatic story about the adventure to the store, explaining that I was confused by being sent to the pharmacy. The entire staff starts laughing and tells me that “preservativo” means CONDOM in Mexican Spanish.

I was adamantly asking for grape condoms to go with my peanut butter!

My employees were laughing so hard they had tears in their eyes. when I said in my best Puerto Rican “I am so…. emabarasada”, which sadly means pregnant.

I WAS SO PREGNANT, WHILE ASKING FOR MY GRAPE CONDOMS, AND PEANUT BUTTER.

Oh… My… Gawd.

Living in, with, or around different cultures adds spice to your life. I’m dying to hear more, please comment with some of your funny cultural mishaps, I would love to include them in a future post.

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2 comments on “Funny Intercultural Mishaps

  1. Silver Screenings
    November 15, 2017

    These are great stories! Thanks for sharing – they’re a great way to start the day. 🙂

    Like

    • Britt
      November 15, 2017

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read them! It means a lot.

      Like

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This entry was posted on November 12, 2017 by in Buddhaful.

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