Professor Writer

Asspresser and Chipmunks: Our Kind of Breakfast

Marrying someone who is not a native speaker of English might seem like a surprising choice for an English teacher.

I’ve gotten the “do you bring your work home with you?” joke before.

First off- rude.

Second, I do what I like. I like English. Therefore, I English it up.

I like teaching. I’m not sure I could stop if I tried.

I lecture in the shower.

And I super-like Husband.

Anyway, there are advantages to loving a language and marrying someone who is in the learning stages of it.

I’ve read the articles about “keeping things fresh” and “using date night to find a common topic and reconnect,” and they all sound swell. In our experience, though, when things are getting repetitive, all we need is a commercial with an unusual word/phrase in it.

He asks me to explain it.

I give definitions and examples.

He brings the clipboard and asks me to write it down.

He diagrams it.

We both end up searching for linguistic explanations for why English is doing this quirky thing it’s doing.

Repeat in a few days when new vocabulary/wording strikes again.

And we do not get tired- over eight years of marriage, now.

What people sometimes forget is that Husband came here willingly. He wanted to be in America and learn English. He studied English in Korea, and one of his visas was a student visa- when we met, in fact. He might still be figuring this English thing out, but we’re both technically English majors.

It’s our kind of fun.

The other advantage is the stories. Sometimes it’s the way the language works that gets tangled, and sometimes it’s just pronunciation, but it is often hilarious.  

Like the time he tried to order an “asspresser” at the coffeeshop, and I thought a barista was going to slap him.

Or the time I was craving donuts- he grabbed his keys, and asked, while standing in the doorway,

Husband: Do you want the hushpuppy kind? 
Me: Hushpuppy? What kind of donut is that?
Husband: The ones from food lion. Creamy crispy.
Me: …. krispy kreme?
Husband: Of course. Do you want glazed from dunkin donuts? Or chipmunks?
Me: …..munchkins?

There was no real danger here- it’s not like I could be dissatisfied with any kind of donut. Or forest animal.

When Husband wanted to take a walk with me:
Husband: We need the… uh… (starts Google translating).
Me: Romance? Quality time? Exercise?
Husband (holds out phone for me to read): “Photosynthesis.”

Google Translate is like our hilarious roommate.

And, sometimes, not knowing the vocabulary makes us extra creative.

Husband trying to warn me when he rolled the giant yoga ball downstairs.

I have so. many. stories.

We will never run out of things to talk about. English contains infinite quirks.

We make lasting, meaningful memories just from trying to order at a drive through speaker.

I really don’t know how people who speak the same language keep things interesting. They’re at a surprising disadvantage in my book.



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