Awkward or Awesome: Brain Betrayal

Even though I’ve come a long way since arriving in Costa Rica knowing only a handful of Spanish words (literally!), I am by no means fluent. And there are times when, even though I know the words, my brain freezes up and it can’t decide which of the five languages stored up there to use.

Today was one of those times and it was definitely AWKWARD!

I was at the cash register in a supermarket and I had asked to reload my phone, or recarga. The cashier understood me and I felt quite proud of myself for remembering the right word. Then she asked me what I thought meant she wanted my phone number so I start rattling off the digits, but then she cut me off and said something so rapidly I couldn’t catch any of the words. Crap!

She stared at me for a response, and I was suddenly aware of the long line of people behind me. Shit!

I opened my mouth to say perdon, but what I heard myself say was moichido!!! The lady looked at me with a mixture of confusion and annoyance.

Did I really just speak Japanese to the Costa Rican cashier???? 

Now everyone else was staring at me impatiently and it only caused more anxiety and mortification. I just wanted to disappear!

After what seemed like forever, my brain finally got the words (and the language) right. I managed to complete the transaction but haven’t quite completely recovered from the embarrassment.

Got any awkward foreign language moments? Please share it so I don’t feel like the only dork! 🙂