Jesus, I Knew I Forgot Something

While preparing a student for his upcoming move to the U.S., we’ve been talking a lot about cultural differences. As with a number of my students, we greet each other hello and goodbye with a kiss on the left cheek and then a kiss on the right cheek. On my mental checklist of topics to cover is the classic American greeting – sticking one’s hand out to shake or possibly just standing, staring at each other while fiercely guarding their personal space.

I don’t know what your views are on this, but I thought it might be a good idea to let him know that men generally don’t use purses in the States. I wouldn’t say it’s common practice here in Barcelona, but it’s definitely not unusual or something that makes anyone stop and stare.

During tonight’s lesson we read in the program guide that students should ask their host families before drying laundry in their rooms (it also said in the cupboards, but we weren’t sure why anyone would stick wet clothes into a cabinet). I explained that while it is quite the norm for people in Barcelona (and I assume most of Europe) to dry clothes on a line, it is much, much more common for people in the U.S. to have dryers in their homes.

Then, as we read through the student guide on “What to Expect Upon Arrival,” I was caught off-guard when I let out a sneeze and was met with “Jesus” in response. My student said “Jesus” so clearly and on-cue and looked so proud of himself, it was hard to break the news to him that although “Jesús” is what is said here when someone sneezes, we don’t use the exact English translation, but instead use the not too far off, “bless you.”


Posted on March 7, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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