"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Err..."Wisdom" (or, Quotant Quotables, Part 5)

Last day of consecutive blog posts. Can’t keep this pace up.

It was a three-way tie for quotes for today. I’ll admit I’m pretty much straying from the theme and quoting not a book but those with whom I am in community. These words of, um, “wisdom,” aren’t necessarily about the what or how or why of community, as much as the sharing of my own joy at the experience of being in an international community. And, they’re funny quotes. I have funny students. And very sweet, sincere students…

On Being in an Intercultural Community—My Students:

“How much wife do you have?”—Saudi student

We were working on the grammatical difference between “how many” and “how much” during class. This student—the same who recently expressed interest in having four wives, some of which could very well be American girls if he gets lucky enough while here—meant to ask “how many wives do you have?” Funny on a couple levels.

“Hugo Chavez is crazy.” –Venezuelan student

During my very small class of three students, all Spanish-speaking, came something like the following:

Matt: “…the eighth of May.”
Students: “The eighth of May.”
Matt: "Right, ‘ocho de Mayo.’ Like ‘cinco de Mayo.’ Mexican holiday, right?"
Mexican students: “Yes.”
Matt: “Is that a holiday in Venezuela, too?”
Venezuelan student (shaking his head in frustration): “Hugo Chavez is crazy!”

Maybe you had to be there. The delivery was perfect, and the comment seemed so random (and perhaps a bit bold), though I think the point he couldn’t quite express was that there was a connection between Chavez’ leadership and a lack of celebrating. Sounds right, from what little I know of the current political climate of Venezuela. Anyway…the four of us must have laughed for about two minutes straight, with intermittent laughter for several minutes after.

“No more Evergreen. Everwhite.”—Mexican student

This wasn't necessarily amusing as much as “cute,” I guess. He and I were gazing out the window during a class break this past Monday as snow was rapidly coming down. He said it, in a tone that made me think he knew he was being funny, but also kind of serious, like he’d just spoken a legitimate word that he wanted validated by his English teacher. But hey, why not? Words can be made up, as long as you say/write them with a lot of confidence. When I use words around my Dad that are new to the Oxford English Dictionary within the last thirty years or so, he really gets on me about it.

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