Question: Ever have any embarrassing experiences due to a cultural or language misunderstanding?
Yes. Many. But here’s my favorite:
When I was at having dinner at my girlfriend’s parent’s home one night, the subject came up of a photo I’d sent her recently. It was a photo of me, taken back when I’d been regularly working out with weights. In the photo, I must’ve looked fairly muscular. Dasha’s her brother in law, Sergei, asks me, “Do you get harmony from this? For working out?”
Remember, he speaks Ukrainian. His Russian isn’t as good as Dasha’s. Hence the strangeness of his question. I figured he meant, Does working out bring me harmony or balance in life? Something like that. So I answer, “Of course I do!”
A few days ago, Dasha and I were talking and she says, “You know, I worry about you. I think taking steroids is bad for you.”
“What??? Steroids?!! Why do you think I take steroids?”
“You said so. Remember when Sergei asked you about it?”
“What? What did he ask?”
“He said, Do you take steroids (hormones) for working out? And you said, Of course I do.”
Here, read for yourself:
Гармония = harmony
Гормон = hormone
Are they similar, or what? So, he was saying “hormones” but I heard “harmony.” Oh, and I admitted to taking steroids in front of her whole family that night. Niiiiiice!!!