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Lukewarm Water for Foreigners

I saw a few days ago a video that cracked me up for a couple of days. It was this Arab man calling from his room at a Intercontinental hotel to guest services.

The man did not know how to express that he had a mouse in his bedroom. So, he proceeded to ask the worker if he knew who Ben & Jerry are. When the worker said he did, he said "well, Jerry is in my room." Take a look on the video clicking here.

While the video may not be a genuine one, it represents a message hard for local, monolingual people to read through, but easy for language learners like me to relate to.

I thought then of a story many years ago, when I moved to Centre County. I had just landed from a foreign service position in Miami to be a stay home mom. As I have always found great pleasure in cooking, I wanted to impress my new family with a homemade bread. So, I got a book and read through the recipe. I had all the ingredients in my pantry but one.

I drove to the Weiss close to my home and walked around for an hour before a young worker approached me and inquired what was I looking for. When I told him the name of the ingredient in my latino pronunciation, he asked me to let him read the name of the ingredient. I showed him the book and his face told me something was wrong.

He could not modulate a word, he did not laugh but he was certainly uncomfortable as to how to explain this foreigner that "lukywarn water" is just tepid water.

Think of a time that you were learning a language and you got embarrassed. If you have no stories to share, I invite you to be pleasant and tolerant to your friends who have limited English. The American dream to me represented always my ability to challenge myself into a new language. With its pros and cons, I make myself understood today in two languages. Give the chance to others to improve their skills through your support. And please share a story below, whether yours or someone else's.

Follow my journey on Instagram: @skamerow as I am preparing my luggage to visit my aunts in Colombia.

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