Saturday, June 23, 2012

miel means honey

i will never forget the spanish word for honey - miel. i was craving stir-fry real bad so i went to the store to buy some fixings. i found rice, peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, eggs, soy sauce, basil, mustard, and vinegar without trouble. but the honey eluded me. unfortunately, i did not know the word for honey. or bee. and i (erroneously) thought i knew the words for sugar and sweet.

me: excuse me. i am looking for something that is [gibberish] and comes from a bzzzzz.
the grocer stares blankly.
me: i don't know the word exactly, but it is dirty and it's a product that comes from something that says bzzzzzz.
grocer 1: limpieza de aerosol?
i stare, making a half-hearted wing flutter gesture.
me: maybe...
grocer 1: it goes "tst tst tst?"
me: yes. i think, yes. 
grocer 1: aisle 4.
me: thank you!

when i got to aisle 4 - the cleaning supplies - i knew something had gone seriously awry. so i approached grocer 2.

me: excuse me. i am looking for something that is like [gibberish] but is a liquid. and it comes from an insect that goes bzzzzzz.
i make a wing fluttering gesture as i buzz. grocer 2 tries, unsuccessfully, to stifle a laugh.
me: haha. yeah, ummm...it's a liquid that is [gibberish] like [gibberish] and is a product of an insect that goes bzzzzz.
i am flapping more fiercely. grocer 2 laughs openly.
grocer 2: hmmm...
me: bzzzzzzzz...?
grocer 2: una abeja?
me: i'm not sure. in english it's called honey.
grocer 2: i don't speak english.
me: right. well...it comes from an insect that is yellow and black...
grocer 2: miel?
me: i'm not sure.
grocer 2: follow me. 
grocer 2 leads me to aisle 7 and presents me with a selection of honeys.
grocer 2: (confidently) miel.
me: miel!
grocer 2: miel de abeja.
me: miel de...gracias!
grocer 2: (chuckling) no problem.
me: thank you. very very much. miel. miel. miel. thank you.

turns out the best recipe for conversational success is a wicked appetite, a strong dose of shamelessness, and a dash of charades.

4 comments:

Utah Girl Am I said...

Bah ha ha! I love this story. I'm glad you figured out what "miel de abeja" is. ;)

johnny said...

thanks, yándary! one game of guesstures at a time...

LizzyLou said...

oh, christy... i went to tell dave the story and i couldn't make it through for laughter. still laughing 10 minutes later. takes me back to guatamala hilarity. oh, man. tears from laughing so hard. hmm. now i can't even quite remember why i'm laughing anymore... ah me! :)

johnny said...

Thanks, Liz! I've thought about our Guatemala trip A LoT since I've been here...