Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Million Mistakes

Let me start with a confession of my first mistake. I have been skipping the proofreading step. Time seems short and I trust my writing abilities a bit too much. I was reading past posts and e-mails and am horrified by my grammar and typos. From this day forward, I will proofread. :) Thanks for graciously overlooking my faults!


We heard in training to expect to make at least a million mistakes. I hate making mistakes but I can't live immobilized because of my desire to do everything right. We pray often for wisdom and then, when we realize a mistake or fauxpax, we do the only thing we can, laugh and pray some more. 

Some mistakes are silly little ones, like when I realized that I had been greeting every man, "Good Morning, Woman". Hmm. That's why everyone was so smiley... 

In our indirect culture here, we have time to make the same mistakes, over and over as we don't catch the subtle corrections.  Factor in our lack of Amharic and communication is always funny.

In the middle of some conversations, it feels like a riddle. I smile, trying to connect the pieces, thinking, "Why are they telling me this? What are they saying?" Then it begins to dawn on me, "Aha, they are delivering a message/correction" and then my mind scrambles to solve it, putting together pieces.

Zelalum had the same conversation with Jon and I at separate times. He explained,  "The cow went one way and the sheep went the other."  We laughed, smiled. "Oh, those silly shepherds." He went on. "The cow goes one direction, the horse is over there and the sheep went back inside." 

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Hmm. He has mentioned it twice. Maybe there is something I should catch?

He continues (The actual conversation was much longer then this. Here is the main happenings.)

Z: There are seven days in the week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We work everyday. One day is for playing. The sheep is inside, the cow is over there and the horse is walking". 

Me: (blankly)...Okay.

Z: 7 days, 6 days working, 1 day playing. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We play Sunday. 

Me: Yes, yes, seven days, one for resting. We rest one day too! (Wow, just found a cultural relation point!) We play Sunday.

Z:The football is for playing. 

Me: Oh yes, ishi, yes, the soccer ball. 

Z: Ow, the mothers and fathers say the cow is there, the horse is over there and the sheep goes back.

Mind reeling. Thoughts slowly churning. We have the local soccer ball, a beat up old ball that in the USA would have been tossed to the dogs as a chew toy long ago. Nearly everyday, the boys ask to play with it, using the makeshift goals in the pasture. Why not? They are very respectful, so happy to play and bring back the ball...Ooooooohhhh. I see. (lightbulb) …Putting together the pieces...Cow here, horse there, sheep back home. 

Me: You mean the shepherds are playing with the ball and not doing their work?

Z: Yes! Yes! Yes! (big smile, so proud of me for beginning to understand)

Me: So, we should just let them play with the ball on Sunday?

Z: Yes! (Now beaming) At 2:00 America time. They need to guard their animals. They are shepherds. We play one day. The animals are everywhere.

Me: Ishi, ishi. (okay, okay).

Z: Thank you, thank you

A: (laughing) Thank you, amaseganallo.

Z: Thank you, thank you (bows slightly) thank you.

Smiles exchanged. hand shake, shoulder bump.

We're good.

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And Jon and I can still about fall over from laughing over this mistake. 


Kori Strock said...

God bless your patience.

David and Larisa said...

Oh my, Amy! Wow....that would be so hard, figuring out all of the cultural and language differences. When we were shopping during Yikealo's adoption, I told one shop-keeper that I loved him, instead of saying "thank you." He beamed, and our guide burst out laughing....and then I realized what I'd said.

Love, love, love your posts. It is a blessing to get to see bits of your life, and to learn how to pray specifically for you!

Sarah said...

lol oh my!!

Todd ~ Teresa said...

This made us smile. :)

Mindy said...

too funny! I was so confused as you went through this - when you said you stared at her blankly, I was blankly looking at the computer screen thinking "where is this going? what IS she trying to say!" haha!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow... confusing!!! But we all know you catch on fast, geez, I was scratching my head as I read through it! Indeed more like a riddle or something. lol! Love you sharing these random things... now if only I could sit and visit with you face to face and ask you the million questions I now have. However, we will continue to rejoice technology allows us to get a glimpse of God's people in Ethopia, but oh, how special it is to see your family in the midst of it all!! You keep up the great pictues, blog posts, attitude, and know God will continue to bless and protect you and your family as you willingly serve HIM overseas. How we love and pray for you!!