Just a couple funny communication stories…

A few days ago, I was putting away laundry upstairs in my room and Jo was playing on the bed.  I was kind of talking to myself and kind of talking to her as I was looking around the room trying to figure out the best layout for Henry’s crib and dresser (he will be staying in our room for at least the few first months.)  We already have a crib set up for Henry because we moved Jo’s to our room after she transitioned to a bed, but we still need to get him a dresser.  I said something about “needing to find a dresser for Henry…”  Jo stopped playing and looked up at me with a puzzled look that quickly changed to one of revelation.  She said “Just a minute, Mama, I’ll go get a dresser for Henry!”  and she hopped off the bed and ran into her room intent on retrieving something she had in mind.  I had to laugh at her determination — but I was rather curious about what she was going to bring me (I was thinking maybe she would grab the little dresser from her dollhouse.)  But, no…  She obviously didn’t quite understand what I was saying because she came back into my room proudly bearing her favorite little balloon-print red dress with a big ol’ smile on her face.  She said excitedly, “Here you go, Mama, here’s a dresser for Henry!!”  Heehee… After I stopped laughing I had to explain that first of all, boys don’t normally wear dresses and second, I was talking about an item of furniture, not clothing! 

Another funny one came up in a conversation with Ahmad.  We were talking about the rainy season in Liberia and how intense the pouring rain can be.  He said that sometimes it rains so hard that “the rain will embarrass you so you can’t go out in it to walk to work.”   I had to stop him and ask him to repeat himself because I didn’t think that I heard him correctly, but he used the same word again.  I thought it was such a funny use of the word “embarrass.”  I guess it makes sense in that context because the rain is keeping you from doing something, which is sort of how we use the word… just not in that particular context.  It’s yet another “Liberianism.”  🙂  We are enjoying learning a little Liberian English from him…  and I love listening to him talk on the phone with his family back home.  It is very hard to understand, though.  He is from the Mandingo tribe, so he speaks a combination of Mandingo and Liberian English with them.  If I listen really hard I can make out a word or two — but for the most part it is like a completely foreign language.  Ahmad does a great job speaking “American” English with us… he is very easy to understand for the most part.  There are times when we totally miss each other, and he is repeating his word over and over and we are repeating our word over and over until finally the lights go on and we all realize that we are actually saying the same word!  That’s very funny… but thankfully it doesn’t happen too often and we are generally able to carry on long conversations without language frustration.  He is a fantastic storyteller and I am glad we can understand him to hear his stories.  I love the way he uses props to help make his point.  I don’t know if that is a common Liberian trait, or if it is just Ahmad, but it’s really funny.  Glasses of water on the table become buildings and the salt and pepper shakers become fire trucks!  🙂

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