Culture Shock: Digest? Dissect!
A couple weeks ago, I had a guest blogger contribute a post to 300 The Fenway. Variety is the spice of life, right? In keeping the tradition alive, today's post is brought to you by another guest blogger from Writing/Editing Across Media, junior Shi Su.
Shi writes a quirky and often hilarious blog called Culture Shock, in which she recounts the many funny stories that have happened to her since living in the U.S. as an international student from China. The following is from Shi's post, Digest? Dissect!
English is a really interesting language, especially when someone fails in using the proper English word.
Sometimes I don't think before I say anything. When being asked what to add to the hamburger by the Fens' staff, I sometimes accidently say "potato" while I point at the tomatoes. I would receive a strange look from that person, and be told that they do not have potatoes. Then I would ask for tomatoes. Since I have done this several times, and our conversations were always short, I guess the impression I left on the staff is probably "this Asian has a weird taste."
Sometimes, however, the seemingly minor mistakes cause more than confusion.
One time I was hanging out with my friends and they asked, "What classes did you have today?"
"Anatomy lab," I answered.
"Oh, what did you do in Anatomy lab?" asked one of my friends who's not a science major.
"We digest cats," I said, with a smile. Then I felt the live atmosphere freeze for a second.
"Ummm... What?" someone broke the ice.
"Yeah. We cut the cat and digest it," I explained.
"Ummmm..... I think you mean 'dissect the cat,' because 'digest' is what happens after you eat," someone finally got what I said.
Oops. By then I realized what I said actually made myself sound quite horrible. If you have read one of my previous posts about the stereotype that Chinese people eat dogs and cats, you would understand how my friends felt at that moment.
To be honest, English sometimes does sound like a tongue twister to me. You must be better than me at reading it:
"She sells sea shells by the sea shore.
The shells she sells sure are sea shore shells,
For if she sells sea shore shells as sea shells,
The shells she sells are sea shore shells."