Friday, September 15, 2006

Fun with H., My Favorite of the Maids

One of the features of having servants is that I don't get to do anything by myself; in fact, I think they deliberately hide things (such as the toaster) in order to prevent me from doing mundane kitchen tasks (such as toasting bread) by myself. If I even so much as start serving myself rice, a maid, or sometimes two, comes running into the dining room to do it for me. No! Heaven forbid I be forced to do something for myself!

The other day, the task at hand was cutting an apple. My attempt to do this alone stymied by the fact that knives are among those kitchen implements conveniently hidden from view. Admitting defeat, I wandered into the servant's kitchen to ask for a knife, only to realize that I couldn't remember the Indonesian word for knife. The ensuing conversation went something like this:

Hannah: Um, excuse you have something here for cutting an apple?
H.: Yes! Of course! Here.
Hannah: What is this called?
H.: (very slowly)"pisau."
Hannah: Thanks. Oh, and is there another one? My friend needs one too.
H.: (nods, gets another knife.)"pisau."

Sometimes I think people around here get "foreign" and "stupid" mixed up. In any case, I'll never again forget the word for knife.

(This is not nearly the funniest story I've heard about language mixups and knives; a former roommate once, while praying in Arabic, forgot the word for "atonement." Deciding to substitute a random word instead, she ended up thanking God for Jesus' knife. It's a good thing the Lord looketh upon the heart.)


Tolkien Boy said...

Hmmm...I was going to make some Zipporah-related joke, but decided that your mother would be reading these comments, and I didn't want to disrupt anyone's peaceful slumber.

So. Um. Hee hee hee.

alea said...

Are you sure they get "foreign" and "stupid" confused or just "Petra" and "stupid"? I mean, it's assuming a lot to claim your brilliance comes across even in broken Indonesian. Plus, I cannot count the times I've mixed the two up.