Friday, January 8, 2010

Chit Chat

The first hour of Nepali class consists of chit chat. Casual conversation. This is painful for me for two reasons.

First, class begins at 7:40 in the morning. I can barely speak English that early in the morning, nevermind Nepali.

Secondly, I'm not much for chit chat. If I have something to say, I'll say it, but otherwise, the pressure to maintain polite conversation for an hour is painful (especially without the assistance of a cocktail).

Of course, speaking at length is an important part of the language test. I feel like I'm being judged for a character flaw rather than a deficiency in speaking the language.

A friend of mine who is also a language student has the gift of the gab. During her first test, she was given a photograph of Kofi Annan and asked to talk about him for 10 minutes. What she knew about Kofi and was capable of saying after a few months of training only lasted a few minutes. So she made up stuff. She explained that Kofi came to America for college. That's when he met her mother; in fact, she is Kofi's love child. I'm not sure if she used the literal Arabic translation for "love child" or if she paraphrased.


Harvey said...

Just curious, after your Nepali language training, how many native speakers of Nepali will you have spoken with? Are there a bunch of people at the school to chit chat with? Or is it pretty much you and the teach?

Mom said...

Your friend is right. She IS Kofi's love child.

Mary said...

I'm famous!!!

Lee said...

don't you need chit chat as a PD officer on a PD tour? Just sayin...

andrew said...

When are we going for Nepalese food again

Katy said...

Hi Heather,

I am reading from the beginning of your blog and I just cracked open 2010. Very eager to tear through it...especially since I am in the process of applying for the foreign service.

You are the only blog I have found of a member of the FS who is a solo female, which I will be should I be accepted. I have a million questions about career track, placements, family life and probably lots of other things you were considering yourself when you joined. Would you mind an e-mail chat? I'd appreciate it more than you could ever know.

Thanks so much and take care,