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a "special" christmas dinner
Apr 25th, 2010 by micah the admin

Several years ago my family and I had the most awkward Christmas dinner. It was the year that my grandparents decided they would treat us all to a special dinner at one of their favorite restaurants.
When we arrived at the restaurant, it was packed. Completely busy, but we weren’t worried. My grandpa had made a very special reservation several days prior to have a private room for the whole family to dine in. Our confidence in the reservation was short lived as we found out the staff had made a mistake and had already given the room to another party. So instead of our nice private room, they put a bunch of tables together and stuck us in the bar. Fabulous.
So after an hour or so passes, we get our meals and we’re eating and enjoying our time. Suddenly, an old man, who was sitting in the booth behind us, falls out of his seat onto my brother, passed out. Now, the old man is on the ground, not breathing and his wife is hysterically crying (which also made my cousin cry). My aunt decides this guy needs some sort of help (he was choking) and so she socks him in the stomach! A nurse, who was sitting at the bar, yells at my aunt, runs over, pushes her out of the way and starts doing CPR and the Heilmlich maneuver. Next thing I know, paramedics rush past me, revive the old man, and roll him out on a gurney…all while we’re eating dinner.
That was enough drama for Christmas dinner, right? Probably not.  As we’re all trying to calm each other down and get back to enjoying dinner, the restaurant keeps getting more and more crowded by the minute. Apparently there was no more room to sit in the waiting area, so this strange old man decides to sit down right next to me on the booth/bench thing I was on. I was totally creeped out..and for a long time none of my family even noticed this old man sitting right next to me at our table. Finally, my grandpa saw the guy and says to him, ” I don’t think you’ve met my granddaughter, her name is Emily.” It was totally awkward. After awhile, the man left and I thought that had to be the end of our crazy night. Nope.
There were crowds and crowds of people waiting to eat. What made it worse was that the service was completely slow. My cousin didn’t even get her meal until everyone else was eating dessert. Anywho, as my family was trying to finish up dinner and dessert, an angry old man starts pacing throughout the restaurant, yelling at each table, “YOU EAT AND YOU LEAVE!” We loved that. What a merry Christmas!

Emily – CA

adventures in brazil, part one
Feb 17th, 2010 by micah the admin

In my work, I had to move to Brazil a number of years ago. Of course, to move to another nation, you have to learn its language and culture in order to better serve the people, and learning these things are almost never a smooth process.

My mistakes in learning Portuguese came in a number of contexts. Most of the time it came from mispronouncing words in a way that accidentally formed other words to make crazy expressions. Sometimes it got me into trouble.

One of my many mistakes came when I tried to order a certain fruit juice at a restaurant. A popular tropical fruit in Brazil that makes good juice is acerola. However, the way I said it to the waiter was “cirola” (SEE-ro-la). I had just order long underwear juice.

The first words that any adult learns in a new language are the words of survival. When I visited Brazil before moving there, one of the first words I learned was that for toilet. One day I had to use the restroom pretty badly. So, with the normal facial expression and body language of someone who had “to go”, I asked someone in Portuguese where the nearest toilet was. But I didn’t say “sanitario” (toilet); I said “sanitorio”. Imagine my face and body as I had just asked for the nearest insane asylum.

Joseph – DC

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