11.29.2008

The Language of English

After our wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, Sinterklaas and his helpers, Zwarte Pieten, strode into our house and surprised us with a visit. It was really fun, and what a jokester that Sinterklaas can be. He actually asked me for a classic American baked bean recipe as he was leaving. And, during his visit, which lasted an entire hour with the boys singing and dancing and Sinterklaas discussing with them all the good things they do and the things they could do better, he started speaking in English. He asked the boys if they could speak English, and Jari told him horse, while Kaeden added the addition of the word lady, in which Sint then joked about a sexy lady...hmmm...

But, what really made me crack up laughing was when Sint said: I'm just pulling your leg! As the rest of my company looked around puzzled, I started cracking up and couldn't help myself from jiggling at my own good fortune. Someone that I could actually crack an American joke with, not feel as if I couldn't speak my mind, and he'd still understand the nuance of me? It really hit me in a way I haven't considered for many years, since I first started living in Europe with the understanding that my limited language skills wouldn't allow me to speak freely and crack jokes on a whim. I was sitting up there laughing on cloud nine with this saintly, holy Dutch icon man sitting in my living room and grasping the concept of an American joke. And I totally felt as one with him, felt okay to be me, to laugh and smile and be my American self, to say things that were American that others wouldn't understand just for the sake of feeling free, as I typically don't in my everyday Dutch conversations. So, I'm pulling your leg is a saying I will never forget, and will probably choose to use more often, as it gave me a sense of my long lost American self, and made me feel totally, well, American...and accepted as such. It was a great evening, and for many more reasosn than just that. But, that was one of those seconds in time that define you, that you hold onto, just a little something that gives you courage and acceptance, and from my Thanksgiving, it was the whipped cream on teh slice of pumpkin pie.

Tonight, when Jari was brushing his teeth, I was in the bathroom with him looking at our aquarium sitting on the bathroom counter. We have always had our fish in the living room, but due to needing the space for turkey dinner, I moved them on Thanksgiving day and have left them there, trying to decide if I like them better in the bathroom. So I asked Jari: What do you think of having the fish in the bathroom?
He replied: They fit in better here.
Why? I asked him.
Because the bathroom is all about water...the sink and the bath and the toilet, and fish are all about water cuz they need water to live. But the living room, it's all about the tv, and electricity. I think the fish like it better in the bathroom!

So, now you know. Each room of the house has a personality. And right now, our fish are adding their own character to the personality in our bathroom, because fish like water better. And, the LIVING room, well, it's all about the tv..... I won't say another word. I plead the 5th...


4 comments:

Jen said...

When I was trying to learn German, that was a huge problem - trying to figure out all those little sayings!

Often, I think about how I want to read some books in Deutsch, but I'm going to miss out on the subtle ironies and things like that, because I'm just not anywhere close to fluent. :\

V-Grrrl said...

My Belgian chiropractor in Brussels used to astound me with his mastry of American idiom. I'd laugh and laugh over his finely nuanced jokes. Yes, it is a gift to have that ability and to share it!

Jade said...

Hehe, very cute video. Your little one seems like a shy guy.
Sorry I left a blank post, its fixed now ;-)

Thanks for checkin in tho!

Jade said...

Hehe, you know what? The weirdest thing happened to me this morning. I was out running some errands. I was in line at the store when I look in front of me to see this woman holding the hand of who I assumed to be her 6-8 ish year old son. I was so confused for a second. This lady must have thought I was crazy by the look on my face.
I almost said hi to the pair even though I knew I didn't know them but....man that woman seemed familiar to me! She scooted up in line and then headed out. Until I got home I was wondering why it felt so odd to see that woman and her little boy in the store. It just kept bugging me in the back of my mind.

So I get on here to check up on my friends and BAM!!!! It hit me!!! Well, lol you hit me! Hehe, I went to your page, saw your picture and it was you! Hehe this woman at the store looked sooooo much like you. It is kinda spooky how much you two look alike. Even the little boy looked a lot like your youngest.

Hehe, I wish you could have seen me when I got home and made the connection. I was sitting here at the computer, I looked at you, then I'd look off into space trying to compare my memory of this woman to your picture. Hee heee. I was giggling out loud and saying "wow, thats spooky!!!"

LOL so in a way...I kind of met you today. It was just so weird. Even weirder to put it all together. hehe. So... you shared a smile today and didn't even know it!