Rolls and Buns: A Communication Mishap

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After unpacking and settling into our new home in Levington, England, our first friendly act was to invite some British neighbours to an American Bar-B-Que. Soon our weekend tradition of having a Bar-B-Que for the evening meal appealed to Robbie, our blond, curly-headed, always hungry, 3-year-old neighbour. (This tradition lasted the 5 years we lived there.)

Robbie was usually first in the queue (whether he was an officially invited guest or not) when the bangers and rolls were being passed out. He knew the drill. That wasn’t always the case though. One thing Robbie taught me is that even though people may be speaking the same words, communication is not always taking place.

At that first Bar-B-Que, I prepared plenty of food not knowing what our new neighbours would prefer to eat: hot dogs and buns, chicken, hamburgers, bratwurst, pasta salad, potato salad, green stuff (a fancy jello salad), and a vegetable salad.

Robbie expressed delight over the hot dogs and buns. He’d finish one up and then would ask for another.

After his third one I asked, “Robbie, aren’t you full of hot dogs and buns yet?”

“Crikey,” he exclaimed. “I keep waiting for the buns!”

After some discussion I realized that to Robbie a bun was something sweet, a dessert. The delight I thought he expressed was really surprise and anticipation. He wanted to taste a (British) bun holding an American hot dog. From then on we both made an effort to make sure we were speaking the same language.

I wrote this anecdote in response to today’s RevGal Blog Pals’ Friday Fave.

Your Turn . . . Have you had a communication mishap with someone from another culture? Please share!

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Entry filed under: Friday Fave, Learning, Main.

Sweet Blessings Recounted for Friday’s Fave Five Sometimes a Question is Not a Question

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