I teach English on-line to Spanish and Portuguese speakers. Sometimes they are enthusiastic, and sometimes they are half-asleep, but I always have to be peppy because it's online and they only hear my voice.
(Someone told me once, and I've found it to be true ever since, that when you answer the phone, you should smile because people can hear it in your voice. Try it...listen for it. It's right on).
Anyways, tonight's lesson was "superstitions" and since only one student was in class for this hour, I decided to fill some of the dead time asking about superstitions in his country (which happened to be Colombia). He started off talking about 18 grapes at New Year's, then about running with a suitcase near New Years, and then he mentioned something about Jello and underwear but the grammar was a bit off so I wasn't sure if it was like a joke that people play on each other or if there is some sort of gelatin underwear out there in Colombia that they are selling like hotcakes...Obviously, he lost me.
So, in Spanish, I say..."so, does someone put jello in your underwear or you throw jello at each other...I don't understand. Can you explain that again?"
He. dies. laughing.
Through gasps for breath, he gets out "AMARILLOS!" YELLOW UNDERWEAR!
He explains that it's good luck for finding a boyfriend/girlfriend for the New Year...
"OBVIOUSLY the YELLOW underwear would give you better luck," I say...We both have a fit of laughter before returning to class. I get professional again and by the end of class I've forgotten about our mix-up.
But he hasn't. He loved his mistake.
"Teacher," he said before signing out, "make sure you get the yellow ones for New Years...The Jello would be a bad idea!" And then he was gone.
Lesson of the day:
Sometimes our mistakes are better than getting it the way we hoped for. Embrace them!