My coworkers often struggle with English, and the mistakes that slip out are usually pretty humorous. One of these lovely people, although she is shy and it takes great effort each time, stops by my desk every single morning to make conversation. Unfortunately for her, this morning’s chat was not entirely flattering:
PB: Megan! Today you look so…ugly!
I am SURE she meant lovely, i’m sure she meant lovely, i’m sure she meant lovely…
Secretary: Megan, this is my son, Phroom. Say hello, Phroom.
Phroom: Hello. WOIUOERKJERJKOE (question to his mother in Thai)?
Secretary: He says, “Why is she so big?!”
Me: Chan Ya! (I am a giant)
Phroom: [looks startled and refuses eye contact for the remainder of the visit]
My boss is several years older than me, but less than 40. She skips around the office. When she gets frustrated with her English skills, she doubles over and puts her hands on her knees, thinking hard. When the frustration hits an all-time high, she spins around in circles and the two of us make so much noise, someone else usually comes from the other office to help us with our communication.
Translation: My boss is awesome and I’m the luckiest recent graduate alive.
I was asked to give the English names for two office items:
1. Holepunch [the name sounded so foreign to my coworker, I had to break it down…which translated to an even more worrisome situation of nearly punching him]
2. Trash paper [this is the thin, thin tracing paper designers and architects use.]
“Oh, trace paper.”
“Yes, like this can under my desk.”
As hard as the tones in Thai are, the language makes more sense than these two names today!