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Misnomer – by Justyna

14 Jul

My Polish has improved greatly in the last six years. The vocabulary as well as the true meanings of certain words. There were words that I knew existed but never knew the true meaning of them, giving them my own definitions based on, say, the onomatopoeic value of the word I heard used by others. Please see below the anecdote Michal likes to share with people about how Justyna was once a massive embarrassment to him:

 A semi-filled tram in Krakow. Michal and I are young, just married, and look respectable if not in love. All the seats are taken but there is enough space for sound to resonate.

 Michal at one end of the tram carriage, Justyna at the other.

Justyna: “Hej fiucie, masz bilet?”

Michal does not respond and looks away pretending he doesn’t know me. Laughter erupts from passengers around.

In-translation: what I thought I said

Justyna: “Oi, spazzy, have you got a ticket?”

In-translation: what I actually said

Justyna: “Oi, cock-head, have you got a ticket?”

Once Michal explained the true meaning of the word “fiut” my brain stopped regarding it as an endearing albeit politically incorrect vocative case.


Social misnomer – by Karen

13 Jul

Justyna may apologise for her double-themer posts, but I take my hat off to her. I mean, social misnomer? What the hell am I going to write?

This is the first time I’ve used a computer in the new house. I’ve got it tethered to my mobile as it seems it will take upwards of two weeks to get ADSL connected. We’re not in Singapore any more!

It’s been excellent not having a computer around though, and we’re thoroughly enjoying all our errands. We have bank accounts and medicare cards, and I even have my first Australian driver’s license. We’ve bought a chicken coop, met the neighbours, and told the neighbours about the chicken coop (all clear!). We seem to have ourselves some bonza neighbours. The kids seem to like their new life, even though they don’t have any tables, television or a fridge. Luckily grandma and grandpa up the road have all that stuff.

Richard and I have been thoroughly amusing ourselves by adopting the personas of what we must consider to be a prototypical Australian couple. All conversations have taken place in pure ocker for around two weeks leading up to our departure from Singapore (we watched the Castle for inspiration). We’ve been having jocular conversations with all customer service staff, and anyone else we run into on the street. Yet as over the top as the jocularity has felt, observing the interaction between two middle-aged ladies in the next Target queue brought me crashing back down to earth. We’re not even half way there yet.

So anyhow, social misnomer? What’s that when it’s at home!? Better luck next week, mate.

ETA: I’ll tell you what’s a social misnomer! Far Flung Four! Now that I’m back in Australia, the jig is officially up. We’ll be proceeding as normal I guess, and keep the name cos we’re sentimental like that. Any further suggestions from our legion readers are welcome. 

Misnomer – by Tabitha

12 Jul

Nathan and I are on a pretty tight budget here on Koh Samui, since we have to follow through with our claim that it’s cheaper to be on holiday in Thailand than to live in Australia. I have even downloaded an app for my phone to register all our expenses. This is a pretty big step for us. So far, the Thai holiday is winning hands down on the budget-o-meter, and we’re off the scale on the smug-o-meter.

As part of our budgetary measures, we’re only dining out once a week. Last week, our restaurant of choice was Dr Frogs, the reason for which I’m sure is self-evident. In the days leading up to our dinner/appointment, we could both be heard singing They Might Be Giants’ “Doctor Worm” almost constantly, but with the words appropriately changed: “He’s not a real doctor, but he is a real frog, he is an act-u-al frog”.

There were no doctors nor frogs at Dr Frogs, as we expected, but it was a fine meal. How could it not be with this write-up in the local Dining Guide:

“Anything’s possible. In this day and age of genetic engineering, scientists can produce the perfect vegetables and livestock. Giving us exactly what we want, such as pest-free tasty corn and succulent lean beef. So it comes as no surprise that restaurateurs are eventually getting the message that we want total perfection in our dining experiences too, and are creating places that have every possible benefit and absolutely no negative aspects. And Dr Frogs is a prime example.”

Yes, that’s right. Genetically-engineered foods are total perfection, and have absolutely no negative aspects. Just like Dr Frogs. Delicious.

We’ve noticed that there all kinds of such doctors in Thailand. In the special “clean foods” section of the supermarket we saw a shrink-wrapped winter melon labelled “Dr Melon”, and every second product in the toiletries aisle has been to medical school. Vietnam is on its way to this mentality too, where images of shiny factories and laboratories and people in surgical masks are the best way to market anything, especially food. Thailand is obviously one step ahead, and will no doubt soon backflip and go for the all natural, organic, unmedicated angle. Dr Melon and Dr Frogs will be out of work.

To finish, I would like to mention two of my most favourite animals. The first is the geoduck, but not what a geoduck actually is, which is this revolting, phallic clam:

But the geoduck in my mind, which is an intrepid, globe-trotting duck interested in geological formations. He’s friends with Toilet Duck.

Secondly, there’s the waterbear (aka moss piglet!), which is similarly not a bear. However, the waterbear in my mind could in no way beat the waterbear of reality, which looks like this:

Hello, my funny friend.

What is a misnoma, Mummy? – by Beth

11 Jul

Yes, Leo. What is a misnoma?

I’ve read the wikipedia entry for misnoma many times, having had this named as our topic this week. But I still have no idea if this is an appropriate example, but everyday Leo fires off questions about the finer details of *stuff*. And everyday he gets us in trouble for not understanding the finer details of the *stuff* he understands to be correct. English is so confusing – the same words used for different things. Rules broken here there and everywhere…

Here is an example of one such knowledge share session AKA reading a book together…