Just saw the most ridiculous advert on telly. They were explaining how many germs there are all around us at home.
Oh, no, how terrible! Every time one of us touches the regular soap dispenser pump, we leave tons of germs all over it! So, why not use this hands free soap dispenser?
Whenever I see something like that, I am curious. How many people are actually that stupid? Because, even my 5-year old understood when I explained that there was no point worrying about the pump as the only time you would touch it is seconds before you wash your hands.
Stupid things just wind me up, and I had to get it out of my system.
Now, back to the subject.
I realized the other day that my English was nowhere near as good as I thought. Because, I might be able to express a lot of feelings, thoughts and emotions in it, I might communicate perfectly well and be able to read complicated books ( like Harry Potter, which is my bedtime book right now, don't ask me why)...But there is one very basic, very important area where I am still very foreign.
I have been getting an unpleasant sensation in my belly recently, whenever I walk fast or get tired. It feels muscular, and is probably because of the extra weight I am carrying around. So, trying to explain it to people, I actually was not sure what words to use. And I realized that describing pain is possibly one of the most complicated tasks you face when you are speaking in another language.
Is it a pulling sensation? A friend asked. Hmmm I thought pulling? Don’t know. Is it like a stitch? Is it like a cramp? Oh, forget it, I said. I have no idea!
And really, how does one describe pain? How do we explain what it feels like to be able to translate it into another language?
In Russian we very often use words that make absolutely no sense in English.
Like a headache. A tense, sudden headache is often referred to as a spasm or a spasmodic pain. Yes, it comes up when I look it up online, but I have never had a native speaker understand what I mean, or use the word.
We say angina when we mean an infected sore throat (possibly coming from Vincent’s angina?), and we often complain we don’t feel quite right because we have high blood pressure. The whole blood pressure thing is one of Husband’s favourite topics of endless heated discussions with my mother. As someone trained to be a doctor in the UK, he gets frustrated trying to prove to her that she can’t feel any symptoms of high blood pressure.Because she knows that she can.
So, it occurred to me, that this is possibly one area where I still don’t feel as comfortable as in my own language. I can swear, joke, blog and work alongside the locals, I can communicate with my husband and child perfectly well; but when it comes to feeling unwell I am suffering alone.
'It is the kind of pain you might feel if you run fast to a bus' I told a medical friend of mine, and she seemed to have got it.
'Yes, it is probably your ligaments' she said.
Liga-ments. Right. Look it up online.