Lost in Translation

As anyone who has spent time in a foreign country can tell you, there are just certain things that could be preformed quite easily in your natural habitat, but yet are near impossible when abroad. In the past couple of days, I have run into two of these situations that perfectly highlight the struggles of being out of your element.

 

I thought it would be fun and delicious to try to make my mom’s famous cookies for my Italian family. I had my American mom send me the recipe. I then went shopping for the things that we didn’t have. I was still feeling pretty good about the whole process at this point. When got around to making them, I learned we don’t own a mixer. However, I was quickly assured that a blender would work just as well.

 

It turns out that the brown sugar I was told we had, is not the brown sugar that you know. It is just regular old sugar that just happens to be brown. After I explained what American brown sugar was, we opted to just use more regular white sugar. This was only the least of my problems.

 

The recipe I was working from was in American units like cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons. The measuring devise I had on hand was a blender (which I also had to use as a mixer remember!) that doubled as a scale. All of my amounts had to be converted to grams. There may or may not have been some conversion errors. Probably the one thing thing that really did me in was the insane amount of baking soda I used. I misread “tsp” to be TableSPoon and not TeaSPoon.  Then I believe that there was also a measuring error so there was probably more than five times the needed baking soda.

 

As one can imagine, my cookies rose like like Jesus on Easter. They stared as individual cookie dough lumps, then turned into this.

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When we took them (or it) out of the oven after twice the needed time, it was like a liquidly sponge. So, with solemn faces, we washed it down the sink.

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That was the fate of my cookies.

 

My next experience was that of an attempted trip to the movies. One would think that is a fairly easy task. Not the case. I was going to go with a friend but he lives in a different town, so I would take the bus that would stop at his town then continue to the movies. I was told to get on number fourteen. I thought that seemed easy enough and I found my way to the bus station by myself feeling like a strong independent Italian man.

 

However, upon arrival to the bus lot, in a classic foreign country only one of the the ten busses was labeled with a number. And that was six. That’s an issue I thought. I asked some woman walking by which was number fourteen in my wonky Italian. She was clueless. I then asked a man who seemed to be loitering around the busses in what could be a leadership position. He had no earthly idea what I said then he pointed me in the direction of the place where you buy tickets. His point was not very accurate so I never found it.

 

An important thing to note is on my walk down, my phone ran out of data so I had no means to call and ask for help. I tried to use the guy’s phone but he was infinitely confused by me and unleashed a string of questions. At that point all of the busses left so I walked home. Bummer? Yes, but as any good parent could tell you, “It will build character”. If that is the case by the end of this trip my character will be quite large. Whether I want it to be or not.


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