New country same foot in mouth disease

For any of you who know me even just a teeny tiny bit, you know that embarrassing moments and stories seem to follow me.  Okay, maybe I have a bit to do with it.  I really don’t mean to be such a crazy white woman, but….well, sigh!  If you consider that I live in a country that is not my own, speaking a language that isn’t easy for this blonde to grasp – you can imagine the outcome is even more hilarious stories where I am turning red and wondering what went wrong.

This is one reason I love teaching art to special needs kids.  They get me.  They show me grace when I make mistakes, say the wrong things and I can be my crazy messy white self and have no fear.  Until…..

Oh friends….

I am in the middle of a very messy paint project that included straws and my declaration that we could paint fireworks  (we did by the way.  it was so fun!)   When our classroom was taken over by some very official looking people, the orphanage director and a camera crew.  My heart stopped.  I wiped the paint from my elbow and smiled a wobbly grin as the children jumped to their feet to greet the visitors.

Did you hear my inner groan?

I knew it was even more official and the people even more important than I at first feared when the children started greeting them with practiced phrases that I really don’t understand the full meaning of.


Now, I find that I can get by with a lot if I smile and nod.  It works for me.

Not today.

I was being introduced in front of the video camera as a volunteer teacher who also teaches at the university.  They turned to ask me what I teach at the university.  Wanting to set the record straight I jumped in with my best Chinese.

“Oh, umm, my LOVER is a teacher at the university not me.”


I am not even sure why the word LOVER came out of my mouth, but it did.  (The word that flew out of my mouth is a slang word which can mean husband, but usually means, well you know.) Hubby is my lover, too much info maybe, but the truth and I am not ashamed to say it….except in front of a TV camera, in front of my class of students, and in front of the director of the orphanage.  AHHHH.  I turned four shades of pink as giggles could be heard in the class.

All of a sudden the proper word for HUSBAND came to my mind.  I stood there wanting to bang my head against the wall repeating the word over and over.  Zhongfu.  Zhongfu.  Zhongfu.  During which time I missed the second question of my interview.

Lord have mercy.

I smiled and nodded.


“How long do you plan to teach art here?”

By the time this third question came flying at my befuddled brain I was a mess.  I shrugged my shoulders and said.  I don’t know.

It was over that fast.

My lover and I are teachers and we have no idea how long we want to be here.  Who knows what I agreed to in the middle.

There you have it.

May the interview not be on the five o’clock news…that is all I have to say.


I laughed till I had tears over the whole stupid thing with a friend later.  It felt so good.  I needed to laugh at myself like that.  Some days at the orphanage, loving those kids, but not knowing how to best advocate and help them….it is intense.  I often cry.  Today I laughed.

Maybe that is why Gd allows embarrassing moments to follow me.  He knows I need to lighten up a bit.

That is my story for tonight.  Off to make dinner for my lover, oh achem, I mean husband!




2 thoughts on “New country same foot in mouth disease

  1. Oh, Tammy, I needed a good laugh today and I am in stitches! Too, too funny! I’m sure they understood you! 🙂

  2. Tammy, I am still laughing! That sounds like something I would do. You should
    write a book. I’m sure it would be a best seller. Keep on keeping on. Love you. Shirley

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