Dearly beloved

I just had to share with you my latest and most hilarious bout of “lost in translation.”  I had told a friend about some flower shops in the commercial district, and he called me to ask about them.  Here is the conversation I thought we were having:

Sergey: Hello Layli, how are you doing?

Me: Good, good.  What’s up?

Sergey: [in his usual blithe tone] Well, I found out today that my uncle is dying, and I need to get some flowers–then maybe he will survive.

Me:  Oh!  I’m so sorry!

Him:  I remember you told me you knew some flower shops…

So I gave him directions in my most condoling manner.  Strange, I thought, that he hoped to remedy his uncle’s demise with flowers… Also, he sounded so nonchalant.  But cultural sensitivity is my aim, so I didn’t question this odd mourning/offering custom.

Later I realized that when I heard “uncle,” he was saying “anthurium.”  According to my investigations, that’s a flowering ornamental plant, not the brother of Sergey’s parent.  You know, sometimes context clues just don’t cut it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s