Monday, August 5, 2013

Gained in Translation

Although there may be other upcoming (and awesome!) things on the horizon job-wise, I am currently still working with my good friends Fofo and Kossi in the mailroom-- and we are having a great time!
Us, having a great time.
Recently, an email was sent out offering classes for anyone who would like to improve their English skills, which is very useful for anyone who wants to get ahead in the embassy. Since there were only 10 spots available, and they are super-motivated, both guys jumped on the opportunity and immediately signed up. We're talking 30 seconds-- the HR guy called me, impressed.

Since then, the mailroom has been a center of English learning-- much to the chagrin of it's only non-fluent, trying-to-improve-her-French speaker. Lessons such as "what you are saying is not a word" and "shit is not the same as sheet" are all too common.

In order to make it even more fun, I've been introducing sayings, rhymes and songs. When Fofo was having a hard time remembering the word "roof" I taught him the words to "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire." Don't judge, it's catchy. It worked well! Although I did have a hard time explaining why to avoid the words after the chorus, and coming up with a logical response to why no one wanted to put the "roof fire" out. 

When I was nervous before an interview the other day I mentioned that I had butterflies in my belly. After getting past the word belly, they asked me if I was still a vegetarian, since it didn't seem too vegetarian-like to be eating butterflies. How else would they get in there?

And my favorite additions to the mailroom repertoire so far have been: "See you later, Alligator!" & "After a while, Crocodile!" When I first introduced this saying I had to reiterate a few times that you can't just yell these phrases at everybody, all the time. This was in response to the several times I came across Kossi yelling: "After a while, Crocodile!" to everyone he passed in the hallway.

After that, we were good for a few days, until one day Fofo came to me with a very poignant question. "Madame, I know this response means I will see you in a little while, but who is Croco, and why does he die every time someone leaves?

Dashing every hope I ever had of being an English teacher (none) and potentially losing all credibility I had as a Public Health worker (not much), I told him Croco ate too much dog and got a horrible disease...


  1. Haha, the crocodile reminds me of the time we did news reports for school and Orion learned about the satellite that was scheduled to fall out of the sky. He came up to me afterwards very concerned about the possibility of a "sad light" falling on his head.

    1. Hahah, that's adorable! Hurry back, we miss you guys!

  2. Kate, I love your blog, you are so funny! Stephanie
    (my hubby just started with DS last year...we are in Arlington, VA...I live vicariously through FS blogs ... looking forward to our travels one day)

    1. Thanks Stephanie! I hope you guys have an awesome time at your first post! Enjoy your time in the US and eat as much Mexican food as you can in case you end up in Africa! :)

  3. You're killing me Kate, then you have to say, after a while Nadja die