Humbling Mumbling

It has been interesting to see how our language learning comes so differently.  Mindy is methodically building her vocabulary and grammar, speaking clear complete sentences… even if they do come out as “Your baby’s name is ‘I don’t know’” or “In childhood, there was a gap between me and my teeth.”

Mine has formed up more as what the locals would call Kichidee.  This is basically the stew you get when you take whatever you happen to have in the pantry and throw it all in one pot.  I can usually make myself understood with a mix of Hindi, Nepali, and English…. And I if I am lacking the right word I end up just mumbling that portion of the sentence.

Needless to say this has been quite humbling for both of us as we mumble like babies and create wonderful sentences that make no sense in any language.  Fortunately we are developing a group of friend that understand where we are and are sometimes helpful as we try to move forward.

Mindy has one short story: “During a visit to a nearby village, our conversation lagged after about an hour.  In a newly acquired second language, there aren’t that many comfortable topics at hand.  Inwardly reaching for something to say, I noticed that next to their house about a dozen water buffalo were resting.  I thought it might be interesting to live so close to a herd of buffalo, and thought I’d mention it.  So, very clearly (and loudly, I might add) I said to our new friends: “Your neighbors are animals!” Right away, Ross’s eyes widened and the others began laughing.  Ross looked meaningfully toward the driveway, and there I saw two neighbors (of the human sort) sitting and chatting… well within earshot.  We laughed until we cried, all of us.”

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