December 7, 2003 - Huntington Herald Dispatch: PCV Nicole Sheets finds that Sometimes living in a foreign language leaves you speechless

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Moldova: Peace Corps Moldova : The Peace Corps in Moldova: December 7, 2003 - Huntington Herald Dispatch: PCV Nicole Sheets finds that Sometimes living in a foreign language leaves you speechless

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-24-33.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.24.33) on Sunday, December 07, 2003 - 7:52 am: Edit Post

PCV Nicole Sheets finds that Sometimes living in a foreign language leaves you speechless



PCV Nicole Sheets finds that Sometimes living in a foreign language leaves you speechless

Sometimes living in a foreign language leaves you speechless

By NICOLE SHEETS - Moldova column

There exists a great gulf between what I mean to say in Romanian and the words that fall out of my mouth. This space leaves room for confusion, which can be funny or maddening, depending.

Example: At a restaurant on Ziua Studentilor (Students Day), my friend ordered zeama, a popular chicken soup with a sour zing.

"Why is it sour?" I asked the waiter.

"Itís a remedy for wedding party hangovers," he said.

My intent was culinary, hoping he would name the secret ingredient so I could copy the soup myself. His more philosophical rejoinder was an answer to my question, but not what I was going for.

In part because of my lazy Romanian, Iím not chatty with my neighbors. People donít really greet each other as they pass on the stairs or in our junky courtyard with a molting gazebo. There are a few boys who say hello to me when I see them, but most of their faces are interchangeable.

Last weekend, I took a short run onto Grenoble Street then back down along Dacia Boulevard, a loop.

As usual, I walked the stairs to my apartment on the fourth floor. Two boys kept one flight ahead of me, stomping. I thought maybe they were just making a play place out of the stairwell, "blowing the stink off," as my dad would say, instead of staying cooped up inside an apartment.

As I neared the landing on my floor, one boy ducked behind me and started back down the stairs. Just when I noticed that the other boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, had a knit hat pulled over his face and his arms extended like a zombie, he grabbed me around the waist. The other boy started giggling, and I let out a delayed laugh, too, realizing I had been lobster-clawed into their game of hide-and-seek.

"Ai gresit, ai gresit," you made a mistake, the first boy said to his friend still clasped onto my hips. The toboggan-faced boy laughed too but didnít let go. The moment kept being funny, so we let it.

I wanted to say something in Romanian, some clever way to thank them for including me in their game on such a gray day, but I couldnít think of anything.

"Not a problem," is all I muttered as I turned to unlock my door.

Nicole Sheets is a Barboursville native and Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova. Her e-mail address is moldovanicole@yahoo.com. Her column appears on the Life page the first Sunday of each month.




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Story Source: Huntington Herald Dispatch

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Moldova; PCVs in the Field - Moldova; Humor

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