Well, there is no better ingredient for an awkward situation than language learning. Any number of embarrassing incidents can be immediately created by mispronunciation of a new language. Here are some of my chart-toppers from my first months in Peru.
¿Mi cama es tu cama?
So I constantly feared that I would mix up the word cama, bed, with the word casa, house. Well, it turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy when one night, after youth group, I was walking home with my friends... from church! I turned to one of the guys and asked him if he was coming to my house... but instead of saying the Spanish word for house, I said cama. I, the missionary girl, asked a nice church going teenager if he was coming to my bed! We both died laughing, because I immediately recognized my mistake. I made him swear that he would not tell anybody what I had said. He kept that promise... for a while. When I went back in January to visit, he made sure to recount it for me and all of our friends. Good times and great memories... Thanks Ruben!
Don't bite your nails!
It must have been my second or third week with the host family in Lima. One afternoon at lunch there was a big bowl of grapes on the table. I asked if they would please pass the uñas. I thought that was the word for grapes, but as it turns out, that word means fingernails. You can be sure, though, that I never forgot the word for grapes: uvas!
Tornado support group
Another time I was with my friends who were siblings. A set of male (and also very good looking) twins one year younger than me and their sister who is my age. We were talking about the weather in the United States, and in particular, my state in the midwest. They asked if there were tornados here and I told them that there were. Having never experienced a tornado, they asked if it was scary and what we would do in case of a tornado.
I told them "It wasn't too scary, you just have to go down to the basement, sosten."
Hmmmm... something just didn't seem right about that word. Then I knew it was wrong by the twins awkward silence and Vlady's laughing.
"Sótano", she corrected.
I had said the word for "bra." Apparently all you have to do is hide in your bra to sit out a tornado. Sorry boys, I guess you're out of luck!
Do you have any language learning blunders? Heck, any blunder will to for Totally Awkward Tuesday. Comment and tell me about it, or post the story to your blog and link up to it on Tova's page. Happy Tuesday!