Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tongue Tied

This morning when I got to seminary, the Principal of our seminary told me that he had found a cell phone in the foyer of the church. It belongs to someone in the Spanish branch. I took it and scrolled through the directory to see if their home phone number was listed, but then it occurred to me that I might be HOLDING their home phone. I did see one name on the list that I recognized, so called her to see if she might know whose phone it is. She thought she knew, and asked me to take it home with me. I suggested I leave it in the church library, but she said very few of their members have a key to the library.

Not long after I brought the phone home, it rang. I thought maybe the owners were calling it, so I answered it. It wasn't the owners, but instead was a man who doesn't speak English. I took 4 years of High school spanish, but by no stretch of the imagination would I be considered fluent. But I tried my best to explain to him that I had found the phone at the church. It's surprising how many spanish words I DON'T know. Try as I might to dredge up my high school spanish, I couldn't come up with the right words, but instead, Chinese words kept creeping in to our conversation. My husband was standing nearby getting ready for work, and I could see the smile on his face each time a chinese word slipped in with the spanish. I finally went to the computer and looked online for an english/ spanish translator site and told the man that the phone's owner had lost the phone at the church, and I had found it. I asked him to tell the person, should he talk to them, that I had their phone, and to give them my phone number.

Tonight my husband will be going to the church for the youth activities. The spanish branch bishop should be there, so I will have him pass this phone to him. I think he will have a better chance of finding the owner than a person like me who can't even speak one language at a time.


Inklings said...

Or someone like me who is even worse.

Othersideblue said...

When I first began learning English as a second language in 18 i liked it so much.
I still notice i am thinking in english or conversing with someone in my mind at times.

well ..its not for you to learn English cause its your native language or else u had to since its a universal language :P

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

Exactly the same thing happened to me a couple of months ago. I found a mobile phone in an autorickshaw and found all German names listed. There is a popular restaurant close by frequented by many foreigners and I left it with the owners with a request to find the owners. In a few hours time, I got a phone call from the owner, who with some difficulty conveyed his thanks in German accented tourist English.