560: Heebie-Jeebies

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I have garnered the lead female role in a play, the Thirty Nine Steps. Actually, I play three different females in this play, all of whom interact with the male romantic lead. Who just happens to be my husband in real life. I get to kiss him onstage. More than once. In public. With an audience. Woo-hoo.

There are a lot of lines to learn. In a fairly short period of time. This is exciting, and scary, all at the same time. I am having performance anxiety issues, here, and I haven’t even performed yet. Worrying about things that may never happen. I’m pretty good at that, actually…..darn it.

I will choose to re-direct that snotty little voice in my head, and tell it that I will be wonderful, rave reviews, fantastically good time had by all (including me). I will not listen to internal negative thoughts of forgetting lines, or tripping onstage, or having wardrobe issues – I will have a great time in three accents: German, Scottish and plummy British. And I will kiss my husband, leading man, with gusto and fervor. Woo-hoo!

 

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413: Barbados

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I adore Barbados. It is the Caribbean island that is located furthest east – or the closest one to Africa and Europe, even though it is closer to South America than either one of those. Being so far east, most hurricanes give it a pass.

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As a result of location (and its geography and climate, which made it ideal for growing sugar cane and making RUM), it spent quite some time as a British colony before peacefully earning its sovereignty as a nation. It’s a pretty small nation.  You can drive from one side of the island to the other in about a half hour, even with traffic. It is a longer island than it is wide, though – going end-to-end, long wise, would take, oh, maybe an hour and a half, with traffic.

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The interesting part of the history of Barbados, to me as an American, is that our first president, George Washington, took his only international trip there. While he was there, he got ill with smallpox, an often deadly disease during his day. He survived, of course, and therefore had immunity from smallpox during the American Revolution, especially during the winter encampment at Valley Forge. This meant the American military leadership suffered no disruptions when smallpox broke out – GW was immune.

The fun part of Barbados is that, being British, they all drive on the other side of the road. Note that I did not say the WRONG side of the road, BUT – I did nearly meet my maker there when I looked in the incorrect direction to check for traffic before stepping off the curb, and a BUS whiffled by a few millimeters from my nose. I needed to change my pants, and I had campmeeting right there on the sidewalk. I might have even spoken in tongues.

Near-death experiences aside (!!!), our trip was offered on http://www.travelzoo.com, a fantastic Website that scours thousands of tour companies looking for what they think are the best 20 deals for the week , and they send a Wednesday e-mail to subscribers (it is free) listing the great deals on trips world-wide. Our Barbados deal came with round-trip airfare from the USA, six nights at a beach-front resort that included a full breakfast every morning (YUMMY, too!), with pool, AC, and a kitchenette in the room, PLUS a 100 dollar gift card good nearly everywhere on the island (bought lots of gifts for friends and family) and a fifty-dollar voucher for a seafood meal at the weekly weekend grill-seafood-party place where everybody meets to have fun and pig out. All of this was less than 600 USD a person, and they STILL run deals like that on travelzoo years later. I adore travelzoo, too!

I had grilled fish at the weekend party place, and it was then (and even now) the best fish I have ever eaten. Bar none. And Barbados has something else to gush over…Mount Gay rum. WOW. WOW. WOW. They have been making rum on Barbados for several centuries, and it SHOWS.

I had a fabulous time there – even the fact that they bury their dead standing up (!!!!) did not freak me out too badly. There is an interesting Barbados burial site story in this group of top ten: http://listverse.com/2012/10/04/top-10-creepiest-graves/

I plan to return, if God lets me live long enough!!

For more background on GW in Barbados: http://www.coedu.usf.edu/culture/Story/Story_Barbados_Washington.htm

266: Crying Shame

I don’t cry much, even when there is actually something to cry about. I am a fan of the “stiff upper lip” sort of theory about handling problems. I am a fan, I can’t actually DO it. Usually, the madder I get about something, the more likely I am to cry and that REALLY, SERIOUSLY pisses me off even more.

When I am so furious I can chew nails, I cry. I HATE that. It makes me look all feminine and fragile, when what I’d really prefer to do is cut somebody’s ba….gonads off instead, since usually when I get THAT mad, there is a man involved. I wish I could go all British and do the offended, wounded dignity thing, but, no, I have to cry about it.

If you ever see me and I am crying, it is probably best to give me a VERY wide berth. Especially if you are male (or want to remain male).

219: A Misunderstanding

Language is a difficult thing. Even when you are speaking the same one, misunderstandings occur. Imagine the difficulties when you are learning a second, third or fourth language, the problems that can happen when you are trying to communicate are multiplied.

For instance, American English and British English are NOT the same. And both are English! In American English, the rubber square that you use to rub out mistakes on your paper is called an eraser. In Britain, it is called a rubber. That is NOT what a rubber is in American English: a rubber in American English is a condom. Plus, a fag in American English is a homosexual person, usually male. A fag in British English is a cigarette. You can imagine the shock on an American’s face when a Brit asks, “so, got a fag on you?” meaning, of course, can I borrow a cigarette.

My step-sister brought her Brit boyfriend home over Christmas break from school. At the family dinner table, he leans over to ask her, “So, what time do you want me to knock you up in the morning?” INSTANT and TOTAL silence. Knock you up is an American expression for getting you pregnant, not for knocking on your bedroom door to wake you up. And both of us speak English!!

Speaking of waking up, the Arabic word for that sounds a lot like the English slang word for sex – the F-bomb that is the rudest word imaginable. Plus, Arabic speakers of English often get six and sex to sound way, far, too much alike. I explained gently to a learned gentleman that six is a number and sex is ‘hi-wee,’ which is the Arabic word for sex, and I embarrassed him thoroughly, but he did not pronounce six wrong again. I am sure that I will make similar errors when I get bold enough to try out the Arabic I am learning……