When immersing yourself in a new language environment, the potential to say some really stupid things is quite high.
Yesterday was one of those moments. A fellow co-worker and friend of mine is having a mouse infestation issue in her apartment. While the aiyi (our lovely maid that comes to clean our apartments three times a week…WINNNING.) had put a mouse trap in the apartment, the hole in the wall was still there and the mouse was still gnawing away at their oatmeal, coffee grounds, and loaves of bread. Not OK. The sticky trap that the aiyi had placed in the apartment was too small for the monstrous mouse and something needed to be done.
Naturally, that something was a convo between Charchar and the guy that sits at the front desk of the apartment building. I whipped out my sub-par Chinese language skills to tell this man off, and say that something needed to be done in order to save future oatmeal purchases.
And here is where the language flub came into play.
In Chinese, mouse is “laoshu.” So I began to tell him that the “laoshu tai da le.” Or rather, then mouse is too big. However, in my post workout tired state, my language skills were even more lacking, and rather than saying “laoshuuuu”, I said “laoshi.” This made for a rather unfortunate slip as it meant that I told the Chinese man in my most sassy of voices that there was a major problem because the trap wasn’t work because the TEACHER was too big. Ahh the difference one vowel can make.
Lesson learned – only sass people when you are 110% confident in your Chinese language speaking abilities.