Farting

Farting is always funny.

My Macedonian host family agrees.

One night this week, I sat on the couch next to my 9-year-old host sister studying while a Turkish soap opera hummed in the background. (The waif-like leading lady was standing in the middle of a mine field holding a sheep while the man she was forced to marry at gun point tried to save her. Pretty typical story line.)

I was in the zone trying to keep my latest list of vocabulary straight when I heard it.

It was definitely a fart, albeit it a small one. It wasn’t very loud, so I snuck a peek at my host sister out of the corner of my eye for her reaction.

She giggled and sneakily looked up at me.

Then I heard it again. One quick toot.

This time, my host father heard it across the room.

After a string of Macedonian I didn’t understand, he smiled and glanced over to see my reaction. I made a face and said the word for excuse me to my host sister. She repeated it back to me quietly through another giggle.

Then my host dad said, прдkаш.

That one wasn’t in my text book, so I gave him the blank stare that by now he must be used to seeing.

прдkаш, he said again, more emphatically.

Clearly, it wasn’t in my Macedonian arsenal, so he switched to charades. He flapped his arms up and down, muttering to himself before clapping his hands and declaring, “Eddie Murphy!”

I was confused.

“дa,” I responded hesitantly. (I had no idea where this conversation was going.)

“Eddie Murphy,” he repeated, flapping his arms again and puffing out his cheeks.

“Oh!” I cried as the light bulb came on. “The Nutty Professor!”

I still had no idea why this was important.

My host dad nodded emphatically, said Klumps, and continued flapping one arm, tucking his hand under his armpit. He repeated on both sides, followed by the grand finale – a leg lift and a stream of mouth, fart noises.

Yep. You read that right.

Both of us laughed and laughed and when we could finally breathe normally, he repeated прдkаш.

Got it.

I checked with my language teacher the next day and sure enough, it means you are farting. He clarified that this particular word refers to a small fart, like a child.

I can only imagine all the variations.

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