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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lost in Translation?

For someone for which English is a second language, Susu speaks it amazingly well. Seeing as Grant and I are mostly monolingual (with a speckle of French, mainly salutations and brasserie menu items), it was important to us that we find a nanny who we could easily communicate with.

Susu's first language is Farsi. She speaks this to her friends and her daughter and it's the primary language she uses to communicate with Hayes. It blows my mind when Susu asks Hayes something in Farsi and he responds by doing whatever it is that was asked. It's incredible to me that an 17 month old can comprehend two languages that are so different and is a reminder of just how much their little brains are soaking up at this age.

Because English doesn't come naturally to Susu, there are some things that get a little lost in translation. For instance, when we started giving Hayes solid food, it was around the time Susu started with us and I was having her keep a log of when he ate, slept, poo'd, etc... so I could make sure we were remaining consistent on the days that each of us were taking care of him (in hindsight, a little anal, but hey, I was a new mom!). Grant and I had a good chuckle one day when I looked in the book and she had written "8:30a - SALAD" to describe the pureed veggies she had given him that morning. She uses the words "such as" as a filler to describe just about everything (sometimes it works,  sometimes it doesn't). "It's beautiful" is used to describe something she likes, whether it was a good weekend, or a sci-fi thriller on TV. When Hayes whines, she says "Be loose!", which I can only take to mean, relax! It's like we have our own special language that we've come to understand after working with each other for a year.

Susu pays all of her bills by physically going to the office with cash in hand (ex/ she'll go downtown to the Department of Water and Power and pay her water and power bill that way vs. sending in a check). This morning, as I was getting ready to leave for work, she starts telling me how Fridays are the days she pays her bills. She says to me, "I don't know how to say this in English, so forgive my language, but we joke that Fridays are the days I'm going to f**k!". I laughed out loud and responded, "I'm pretty sure the phrase you're looking for is 'Fridays are the days I get screwed'", as in those are the days she loses all of her money by paying her bills off to the government.

I couldn't make this shit up.

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