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Train Of Thoughtfulness

, , , , | Hopeless | July 26, 2016

(My best friend and I are from Germany. In April 2010 we visit Barcelona. Since we don’t really speak Spanish, we only find out on the day we are supposed to fly home that a volcano in Iceland has erupted and blocked all air traffic in Europe. In an attempt to find an alternative way home, we’ve come to the main railway station, only to find that the railway employees in France are on strike, so no trains from Spain will go anywhere.)

Friend: “I’ll go check with the car rental services over there. Can you stay here and watch the suitcases?”

(While he walks off, I notice a group of young people next to where I’m sitting, who are talking to each other in Schwiizerdütsch, a dialect spoken in Switzerland. A slightly older woman comes to them, says something I don’t understand, and they all start cheering and looking relieved. Knowing that most Swiss people understand German, I try my luck:)

Me: *in German* “Hi! You’re from Switzerland, aren’t you? Have you found a way to get home?”

Girl: “Yes, we’re on a student exchange. Our teacher has called a coach company in Bern, and they’re sending a coach to take us home.”

Me: “If you have some seats available, do you think it would be possible for my friend and me to come with you?”

Girl: “I don’t know. But you can ask our teacher…”

(She introduced me to her teacher, who not only said it was okay, but who called the coach company again and asked them to send the biggest coach they had. Soon after she had her students walk through the crowded waiting area and announce that they were going to Switzerland and had seats available for other travellers. On top of that she even organized a coach transfer from Bern to three cities in southern Germany, from where we were able to catch trains home. I tried to contact her through her school afterwards and sent her a thank you note, but I never got a reply. If you read this, awesome Swiss teacher: You are still my hero!)


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I Hear The Voices When I’m Dreaming

, , | Learning | January 26, 2016

(Our group of 20+ students is meeting on our second-to-last day, to plan our gifts to the trip leaders and our Power Point back on main campus. We were already getting silly before the assistant trip leader, a very quiet, serious guy, walks in.)

Assistant Leader: “Hey, guys. Sorry to interrupt. [Trip Leader] wants me to get the orders for our dinner out tonight.” *lists entree options, takes show of hands* “Okay, that was all. Carry on.”

Half The Group: *singing* “My wayward son…”

Assistant Leader: *stops on his way out, looking puzzled*

Teaching With Love

, , | Learning | October 30, 2014

(I am an American, but am currently living in Spain teaching English. I’m teaching a five-year-old girl about different ‘family’ vocabulary. She has just learned the word ‘mom.’)

Girl: “Do you have a mom?”

Me: “Yes, of course!”

Girl: “Where is your mom?”

Me: “Well, she is in the United States. That’s where I’m from.”

Girl: *starting to look quite concerned* “But when will she come to visit you here?”

Me: “She’s pretty far away so she won’t be able to visit me here, but I’ll get to see her again soon when I go back to the US.”

Girl: *absolutely devastated* “Doesn’t she love you?!”


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Their Own Private Joke

, , , | Right | October 10, 2014

(This happens on a class trip to Spain after a girl realizes she left her comb at home.)

Girl: *walks up to front desk* “Do you have any combs?”

Employee: “No hablo Ingles.”

Girl: *in Spanish* “Necesito un pene, por favor.”

Employee: *laughs hysterically*

Girl: *angry* “Hey! Necesito un pene!” *pantomimes brushing hair*

Employee: *realizes what’s going on, takes out comb, and hands it to girl*

Girl: “Sí!”

Employee: “Ese es ‘un peine.'” *That’s ‘un peine.’* “Un pene es…” *points to his privates*

Girl: “Oh. S***!”


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Giving Them A Spanish Inquisition

, , | Right | October 9, 2013

(I’m a teenager, although I look younger. My father owns a small, English-run shop, and I work some shifts there if I want some extra cash. My father can’t speak a word of Spanish, although I can since I go to school in Spain. Two customers walk in, talking in Spanish.)

Customer #1: “I hate this shop! It’s stupid, and they don’t even speak Spanish.”

Customer #2: “I know, right? I only come in here so I can mentally mock everything.”

(I’ve been listening the whole time, but they’ve only just spotted me.)

Customer #1: “Look! They’ve hired some low-life kid to help them out. I swear that’s illegal; I’m going to report it because it will be funny.”

(I’ve been keeping quiet, but now I get angry. I twist around, facing the men, and start talking to them in Spanish.)

Me: “Okay, listen up: I’m a teenager, and my dad owns this shop. In case you haven’t noticed already, I do speak Spanish, and I’ve heard everything you just said. So if you hate this shop so much, why don’t you get out?”

(We never see them again, which my father appreciates since they were always coming in without buying anything and he didn’t know how to say anything!)


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