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Forget the Words and Sing Along

The more time I spend travelling, the more I think that English is a very stupid difficult language. It's bad enough that the rules of the language are all mucked up, but add the fact that how we use the language changes from country to country, or even region to region, and you have all these added problems.

For example, when I was in China, the students would describe something as being very "dear". It took me a while to realize they meant "expensive", because we don't use that slang in Canada. I was correcting them, telling them what "dear" means to me (as in 'dear one'), without realizing that no, they were using it correctly, just not for Canada.

So, here I am in Scotland, and occasionally the language usage comes at me out of no where. Today, I had a discussion that went like this:

Me: Is the pop machine fixed yet?

Boss-man Who Is Not Kenny: What?

Me: Is the pop machine fixed?

BWINK: The what?

Me: The coke machine.

BWINK: Oh, no, it's not. What did you call it?

Me: The pop machine.

BWINK: It's juice.

Me: No, juice is something entirely different, involving the abuse of oranges.

BWINK: It's called juice machine here.

This then lead to most of the staff in the back office being asked and confirming that yes, it's a juice machine, and I am insane. Because they confuse pop and juice. So I think I'll just stick to asking for Coke.

Then there was this amazing conversation that took place one morning when I was very, very tired. (And in Berwick, which I mention so no Scottish person reading this blog freaks out that I'm refering to the place I'm in as England, since I was in England.)

Lady Giving Directions: Well, you just walk down the street, and you'll turn right at the zebra crossing.

Me: Zebra crossing? I didn't think there were Zebras in England. That's kind of interesting.

Lady: *blink*

Me: I didn't think they'd be in the city, either -- oh, wait, you mean crosswalk, don't you.

Lady: *backs away slowly*

(The advantage of having these sorts of conversations at work is they already think I'm crazy, whereas random passerbys on the street are often surprised.)

It's frustrating, because I think I'm asking for something perfectly reasonable, and no one here knows what I mean. And half the people who talk to me think I'm an idiot because I have no idea what they're saying.

(I won't go into the fact that we even say zebra differently. In Canada, it's zee, and in the UK, it's zeh. I have no idea why.)

Two points of unrelated news:

1) I have updated my Flickr site. Now with photos of the Tron Kirk, but you'll have to scroll down a bit for them.

2) Only two more work shifts till Paris. Not that I'm counting. (Anyone who specifically wants a postcard from Paris may want to let me know.) The planning thing isn't going as well as I'd hoped, since I now am torn between doing the whole whirlwind shopping thingy and going to Chartres, which is a day trip. I can't do both, unless I want to give up something else, and I don't. Also, I am planning on going to a night club on a boat, and it's got a name with Pirate in it someplace.

(How did I manage to write an entire paragraph about Paris and somehow make it not only sound boring, but as though I am uninterested? I shall blame it on too-many-shifts-in-a-row at work, and assure you that I am actually excited, and earlier today I was bouncing on my bed about the whole Pirate Boat Nightclub Thingy. I am excited, just really really tired right now.)

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Comments

If they look at you funny again you can always point out that there are many differences of opinion.

And while I can think of a couple of postcards worth asking for (esp. one of the nave of Notre Dame, if it can carry a Paris postmark) both of them would be forwarded to people whom I know would get a kick out of them. Souvenirs are not, strictly speaking, my strong suit.

But you knew that.

Also, the marching band picture was nice - it's gratifying to know that kids in a culture I can barely comprehend do, in fact, have unpleasant experiences 100% in common with me.

Yay Paris! Hope you have fun there, and try to act as snotty as anyone else if they give you this 'look' of "you are so a tourist".

please, please, please can I have a postcard? I love getting your postcards

(I know..I'm horrible because I haven't emailed you about my weekend yet...I will..really..one day)

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