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Michelle Glauser wrote her Master's thesis on mommy blogs at the University of Leipzig in Germany. She loves languages, reading almost anything she can get her hands on (and thus libraries), hiking, technology, baking, traveling, and blogging. You can read her personal blog here.
While on a senior couple mission in Czech Republic, my grandmother handed a Book of Mormon to an individual and asked, "Will you please eat this?" A missionary I knew in Germany mixed up the words for "nice" and "wet" and ended up telling people, "You are so wet! So wet!" A friend of mine who served in Brazil told someone that she didn't like to eat poop. "Really?" the person asked. "I don't think anyone does," which prompted her revision, "I mean, I don't like to eat coconuts." As for Spanish, there is no end to the times someone has wanted to say "embarrassed" and ended up saying "pregnant" instead.
I love stories of language mistakes, especially the funny ones (after all, laughter is the best medicine). While being personally involved in the mistake may be a cause of embarrassment, sometimes it opens the door for missionary experiences, as people end up laughing together. At the very least, our mistakes help us learn to understand cultures and languages better.
My friend Autumn Lindsay and I just started a blog called "Blabbergasted" to collect stories of funny language blunders. While not all of the stories involve missionaries or even Mormons, worldwide missionary work means that Mormons have a potentially huge pool of these stories. So what do you think? Have I sparked any memories of a time you couldn't believe what your companion just said? Are you blushing at something you said to an investigator without really knowing what it meant? Or maybe you just remember a story you've heard. If so, share the love with us at blabbergastedblog AT gmail.com (or just fill out the form on the blog).
If you can't think of any stories, that's okay. Check out Blabbergasted and enjoy a few good laughs anyway. You might need to know not to mix up "sugar" and "prostitute" when you get called on that mission to Russia.