Monday, 22 September 2014

Amusing Conversations in Bhutan

Before all this baby madness started, I spent some time trying to record some of the amusing conversations I've been involved in whilst in Bhutan. I'm sure if many of my neighbours had blogs they'd be posting madly about all the ridiculous things that I say in Dzongkha. Sadly, I'm not even aware of how unintentionally ridiculous I sound in Bhutan's national language.

Recently I asked some of the other BCF teachers whether they had any other funny pieces to share. Here they are in no particular order. Conversations come from Sarah D in Trongsa, Mr Mike in Nangkor, Angela in Khaling and myself. Some are repeats from my FB page. 


1. Written History

Having just caught a student with dates and events written on his leg during an exam:

Me: "Ugyen, what subject is this?"
Student: "Oh. History. But this was from exam last Saturday. "


2. 50% Muffler

Shop assistant (pointing to a handmade scarf): Sir likes this one?
Me: Yeah, it’s nice.
S.A.: It is 50% table runner and 50% muffler.
Me: Yeah right. This one’s also a table runner?
S.A.: Oh no sir, that one’s 100% muffler.


3. Fairy Vacuums

In the middle of listening practice:

Student: Sir, do they have broms in Australia?
Me: I'm sorry, what?

Student: broms sir, you know, for sweeping.
Student 2: I heard there were no brooms in Australia only vacuum cleaners.
Me: actually we have these very small people only about this big who come into our house and clean everything for us.
Student 1 (puzzled but sincere): Are they human sir??
Student 2: Do they use the vacuum cleaners sir??


4. The Meaning of Beauty

Class 1 students in assembly this morning:

Student: Sir! He pushed me!
Me: Hey! No pushing!
Pushy student: Sir, you are so beautiful!
Me: Hmmm. Still, no pushing.


5. Puppets

During a meeting about upcoming school concert:

VP: We need to be amazing this year. We are doing this as a fundraiser. We cannot take everyone, only the best dancers. Or people will not come.
Principal: Okay. Let's do a puppet dance. That would be fun.
VP rolls his eyes and chuckles under his breath.
Teacher 1: Sarah, you lead puppet dance. You are always moving arms, very active. Same like puppet


6. Postal

To my grade 5 class: If I want to mail a letter from Bhutan to Canada, first I go to the post office in Trongsa. I give the letter to the friendly postman. Then what happens to it?
Student 1: Canadian sir will come pick up letter in our Bhutan.
Student 2: Airplane mam! Parents will pick up in Canada. Parents come to airpot.
Student 3: Mam flies in airplane 
Rest of Class: Just stare wide-eyed, utterly confused.


7. Show me the MONEY!

P: Mr Matts, I have won 50,000 pound stirling in cash.
Me: Really? How?
P: I received a message on my mobile.
Me: Oh. Well… You know there are lots of scammers out there. Who make up these kinds of scams just to get your personal documents.
P (bullish): Oh no, no. This one is genuine.
Me: You didn’t send them any personal documents did you?
P: I sent them my passport. That’s OK isn’t it? 

8. Tea

Me: If you don't stop talking I am going to pick you up and throw you off the mountain all the way to Samtse!
Talking student: Yalamaaaaaa!!!!
Student 2: Oh throw me miss! I want to have tea with my grandma in Samtse!


9. Curls
Student sizing up my curly hair: Miss has comb at home?
Me: Yes.
Student 1: Miss uses comb?

10. Dates

After putting March 11th on the board:

Student 1: Miss! March 10th. It's March 10th!
Student 2: I agree. It is March 10th Miss!
Me: No, I really think it is March 11th today. I will check the computer…. I think I should get a prize! I just won against 40 of you! March 11th it is!
Student 3 turning to girl beside him: So what happened to March 10th?
Girl beside student 3: I ATE it!
Me: What did March 10th taste like? Did it taste really good?

11. Rubbish Disposal

Me: Hey P how do you get rid of your rubbish at school?
P: Is it organic matter or non organic?
Me: Non organic, I suppose.
P: I put it in the pit at school.
Me: Oh OK. What do you do with organic matter?
P: I put it in the pit at school.


12. Thunder Grundies

T: Sir, sir, can I ask one question, sir?
Mike: Sure.
T: Sir, how often does sir change sir’s underpants?
Mike: My underpants? Uh, everyday, I guess. Why?
T: No, no sir, not your outside pants, the inside pants. How many times does sir change in one week?
Mike: Ummm, like I said, everyday.
T (incredulous): No, no, sir,  in one week, how many times. Everyday, not possible.
Mike: Can I ask you how many times you change them?
T: Oh once in a week sir.


At shared lunch in the staff room:

Colleague: Mr Matt, do you take liver?
Me: Ah, I'm kind of still a bit funny about liver.
Colleague: How about yak? You take yak, right?
Me (spooning some onto my plate): Sure, I'll try some yak.
Colleague: Yak head.
Me (rapidly reverse spooning): Did you say 'head'?


14. Rambo Meditation

Teacher on duty: Students, we are now going to do a Rambo meditation together
Me: Rambo! Sweet!
TOD: Close your eyes and imagine all the colors of the Rambo.
Me: Oh. 


15. Too Many Sarahs

Me: "Who is the author?"
Student 1: "Sarah K…."
Student 2: "Yalama!"
Student 3: "Everyone in Canada named Sarah?"
Me: "Everyone? We have millions of people in Canada. Is it possible everyone is named Sarah? Yalama!"
Student 4, eyes wide open, shrugs his shoulders.
Student 3: "Yes."