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Michael | Maggi | Ming | Felix | Vance
January 15, 2000
Michael starts us off, as usual ...
I think it's time for the first writing topic of the new millennium don't you? So this will be writing topic #10. The topic is: write and tell us about an embarrassing experience in your life. I'll get the ball rolling (start off) by telling you a story that I am not proud of. It was a long time ago and I was very young.
When I was 19 I was travelling in Indonesia and it was my first time in Asia - I had a lot to learn.
My brother and I were travelling across Java, the main island of Indonesia and it was incredibly hot. We had been on a train all night and we were waiting for another train. While we were waiting I decided that I would like a wash. I found the bathroom at the station and inside there was a big concrete tub full of beautifully cold clean water. I thought this was fantastic! I climbed in (yes - I climbed in!) and started to wash myself. I got out my soap and cleaned myself all over, and then washed my hair using shampoo. I had a great time and thought how nice it was for the Indonesian train system to provide such great facilities for travellers.
I got out of the tub, got dressed and headed back to find my brother. I was only about 10 metres away from the bathroom when I heard this old lady screaming at me. All at once I realised what I had done. That poor woman had gone into the bathroom and seen all the soapy water I had left behind. I realised that her job was to keep that water clean and that now she would have to spend many hours emptying out that water and filling it up again with a bucket! I felt really embarrassed and just walked away feeling terrible.
Maybe if I was older and wiser I might have gone back to her and apologised and helped her refill the bath but like I said, I was young and a bit stupid! No one had told me about taking a wash in Asia. Now I know that I DO NOT get in the tub and that you must use the bucket to pour the water over yourself!
OK. Now it's your turn. Tell us an embarrassing story and make us all laugh, or maybe feel sorry for you! I bet it isn't as embarrassing as mine!
One week later ...
I posted this message about a week ago and so far NO ONE has written on this topic! Now, it's true that no on has to write anything, but usually someone does!
Maybe you don't want to write an embarrassing story about yourself? Or maybe you have never been embarrassed in your life????
Do you find it embarrassing to write an embarrassing story about yourself?
If that's true maybe you could write and let me know.
But PLEASE SOMEONE write on this topic or I'll feel embarrassed!
January 23, 2000
Maggi writes ...
We had a discussion today about whether [Ming was] male or female...some of us cannot tell from the name. How many of the rest of you have had this problem online...? Someone from another country and culture cannot tell sometimes.
That can be embarrassing...which brings me to Michael's last topic. Maybe it would be better to tell about an experience that was embarrassing because of language.
I was just learning German and came home from work in August....it was hot and I was sweating. I parked my car and got out and the next door neighbor (a man) said hello and asked how I was.
I said, whew! I'm hot. He looked at me...then really laughed and asked where my husband was. I was very puzzled until I realized that in German, I am hot means something else (it does in English too but it is how you say it then! And where and when!).
In German it is literally it is warm to me...it took him 15 minutes to explain using his hands too because I was just learning German. By the time I realized what he meant I was really warm...and very red!!
That was the first mistake I made and certainly not the last. Now I just laugh along with them and enjoy it. I learn a lot this way. And I make people laugh. Laughing is good for you!
Maggi...the crazy teacher here
January 23, 2000
Meet Ming here
Thanks for sharing your embarrassing experience with me. I can't remember the first time I broke conversation with others (there have been countless times...) ummm...whatever.
Every time it happens, I always try out every word I know to describe what I'm trying to say as best I can (sometimes I also use body language and facial expression). Fortunately, all the people I have met so far have employed incredible comprehension skills to figure out what I want to say. However, I can't just rely on my good luck, since it might run out someday. ^-*
January 25, 2000
Embarrassing moments are good when you remember them, but when you are passing through the situation it's really disconcerting.
I remember once when I was talking to a girl friend of mine whom I had not seen for a long time, and during the conversation I asked her how many months pregnant she was. The problem was that she was not pregnant, only her tummy was so big. She stared at me embarrassed and said that she was not pregnant. Well, I didn`t know where to hide my face, because you women of this group know how upsetting it is when someone makes a comment about your shape not being good. Well, that was an embarrassing moment for me.
January 26, 2000
I'm glad Felix wrote on this topic. Now I can tell you my story about an embarrassing moment. Actually, I'm too embarrassed to write about anything that I did that was embarrassing, so I will write about an embarrassing moment that happened to someone else.
I was reminded of this incident when the subject came up of not being able to tell men apart from women. I was traveling in Kenya in the mid 1970's. I had very long hair. I was young and I used to walk everywhere so I had a trim figure. At the time of this incident, I was sitting at a tea shop alone at a table, sipping a cup of tea but mainly taking advantage of the light and furniture to sit comfortably and write. I was living rough, camping out in Nairobi at the City Park nearby. Back then you could camp there but these days it's not safe to go there even in the daytime.
In Africa, as in many countries where I travel, people come up to foreigners frequently and talk to them. Sometimes they just say "Hello, where you go?" or sometimes they want to be friendly and chat. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a chat and sometimes, like when I'm trying to concentrate on my writing, I'm not.
A young Kenyan man came and took a chair at my table. He said hello and started asking me questions which I answered in as few words as possible. This time I was not in the mood for a chat. I was trying to write. I tried to be polite, but on the other hand, I really didn't want to drop what I was doing and talk with this stranger who had just sat down uninvited at my table.
He could see that I didn't want to talk. After a few minutes of his trying to make conversation and my trying to prevent it, he finally admitted that he had sat down to talk to me because he had seen me sitting alone, and from behind, I had looked like a young lady. He was attracted and had come to talk to a young lady. But he had found a young man and now he wanted to excuse himself. He didn't want to waste his time either.
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