If you had asked me two weeks ago how many states there were in America, I would have known.
Even last week, I knew.
Friday night, I wasn’t sure.
My host dad and I battle through basic conversations each night. I’m learning a lot, but I still only have the vocabulary of a small child. Friday night, we worked through the difference between cities and states. He commented that New Jersey was on my passport, comparing it to a Macedonian city.
I pulled out my Macedonian/English dictionary and started sounding out words like the overgrown kindergartener I’ve become.
Once we established what a state was, he told me there were Педесет и еден. That’s Macedonian for 51.
Now I just learned all the numbers, so I chimed in with He (means no, pronounced nay}, педесет. 50.
He, He, He, he protested.
(You can see where this is headed.)
We haggled back and forth, I double and triple checked to make sure I was saying the correct number. (I’ve only been speaking Macedonian for two weeks after all.)
Then, I tried to solve the problem in the most American way I know how, resorting to Google. I found the answer (50 – phew!), showed him the page, and tried not to look too smug.
But he still wasn’t having it! I explained in my broken Macedonian that I would bring home a flag and we could count the stars together, but he wasn’t budging.
I guess we’ve found another similarity between our cultures. Stubbornness.