Thursday, February 28, 2008

Scrambled like eggs

As most of you know, my husband is a native French speaker. Sometimes, this means that we experience hilarious gaps in communication. My French is still in the beginning stage, and the errors too numerous to mention. However, his English is almost fluent, and so his mistakes are usually funny - to me anyway.

For example, at the wedding, the guests wanted me to make a little speech. Having no idea what to say, I looked to my dear husband for some guidance. "Just say 'good appetite'", he says. Good appetite? Sorry dear, but that doesn't make sense, and it is just hard to say something incorrectly in my own language. Although I understood that he was translating the French literally
, in English we don't say "good appetite". So, I did the next best thing. I said, "enjoy your meal". But no, that was not good enough. No sooner were the words out of my mouth than the M.C. , who had heard my husbands instructions, felt it necessary to reiterate my words. With much gusto, as if to cover my mistake, he nearly yelled into the mic. Speaking in English, he tells the guests "She said, 'Thank you for coming...and good appetite!'" Maybe "eat well" would have been a better choice.

The other night, we were having one of those mushy memory lane conversations that couples, relatives and old friends sometimes have. As you know, here in China I was (am) the "untouchable", and he was laughing about some of the things his friends said to him when he expressed his interest in pursuing me. The guys here often talk(ed) about my complexion and hair texture, and occasionally use(d) my appearance to reinforce their reasoning. As he laughed at how much has changed, and how I went from being the untouchable girl to his wife, he made a remark about my (naturally curly) hair. "My wife, with her scrambled hair." Of all the words used to describe my hair, this was the first time I'd heard "scrambled", even from him. Laughing hysterically, I said "Like eggs?", in order to be sure he was saying what he meant. "Yes!" he exclaimed, "Scrambled like eggs."

No comments: