‘Tis the Season for Miscommunication…

So, it’s been another crazy week here.  Little Ginger is working on setting the world record for longest cold, and I’m chugging gallons of the previously mentioned bison tea. If this is the first post you’re reading, I should clarify this is tea that has a picture of a bison on the box, not bison-flavored tea (I hope).  I’m working on a post about jade rollers and Julia Child, because those two obviously lend themselves to end-of-year reflections (or that may be the bison tea talking).  However, with the cold, the baking, the wrapping, and general holiday craziness- if you want to know how many seconds until Christmas, Big Ginger can help you out- I haven’t had much time to write.  I did want to share a quick story that kind of relates to the season, though…

When I was in college my parents and siblings moved to Turkey.  It meant I got to spend school breaks traveling to new and exciting places, not too shabby.  There were a few catches, I usually had to talk to my professors about condensing my finals schedule as much as possible at the end of fall semester to maximize my travel time, and I occasionally had to supervise the travel of a Turkish street dog who joined the family.  Rest assured there will be more on her at a later date.  It was completely worth condensing my finals schedule, but it usually meant a grueling week and that I was completely wrecked by the time I got on the plane to travel to my family for Christmas.  The second Christmas I did this my final schedule had been insane and I was  exhausted by the time I got on the plane to be on my way. My flight from D.C. to New York was delayed so when I got to New York I had to haul to get to my next flight.  I made it and all I wanted to do was get on my way.

I boarded the plane; got to my row and saw that my seat neighbor was a very grandmotherly woman who immediately smiled at me.  I was thrilled because she looked like the ideal seatmate for the next nine or so hours.  I smiled back and got my bags stowed, grabbed my book (this was mumblemumble years ago, before digital devices made my carry-on considerably lighter).  My adorable seatmate turned to me and patted my arm and started talking to me.  In Turkish.  She was so nice that I smiled and nodded and said “Oh” at what I thought were appropriate intervals.  Turkish had eluded me, I could say a few phrases and count to ten. None of that vocabulary was going to help now. I couldn’t imagine telling my new friend to turn right (I had a decent grasp on taxi directions) so I continued to smile and nod.  She was getting more and more animated so I nodded more vigorously while trying to hazard a guess at was going on in our conversation- I was invested now and didn’t want to let her down.  In her defense, she had said hello to me in Turkish when I originally sat down and I had responded with a hello in my rudimentary Turkish, so I had misled her.  At this point she had said what I thought was “first” and had making a cradling motion with her arms.  The light went on in my head!  My new BFF was telling me about visiting her first grandchild and I knew how to say “how beautiful” in Turkish! Conversation saved! Maybe I should change my major to a focus on International Relations? She started to fish in her bag for what I was sure at this point was pictures of a new baby.  I was pumped, I was ready with my appropriate phrase, we were going to do this…

Then she pulled out her Green Card.  To this day I have absolutely no idea what our by that point twenty-minute conversation was about.  I put on a big smile, frantically did a mental inventory of my ten words of Turkish and unsurprisingly found zero vocabulary that was going to cover this change of events.  So I went back to the original phrase and told her the picture on the card was beautiful.  She looked about as surprised as I would if someone told me my drivers license picture was beautiful.  I smiled, she smiled and we settled in for a companionable flight probably both wondering what exactly had just transpired.  She gave me a big hug when we landed then I had to sprint off to catch the last flight of my journey.  I’ve always wondered what happened to her.

We’re coming up on a few days that are prime time for potentially hilarious miscommunication.  Just remember, it works to say “how beautiful” and smile then sit companionably.. It’ll give you something to smile about later on…

Now off to make more tea. Maybe Celestial Seasonings needs a spokesperson?

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4 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season for Miscommunication…

  1. I love this story! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    I’ll be handling family holiday miscommunication the way my therapist told me to handle it, which is me standing up and saying, “If you say one more nasty thing to me, I am getting in my car and leaving.” You only have to follow through with that one time and it pretty much nips the problem in the bud! (My older sisters are terrible people who live to torment me.) It really does work, though! 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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