Monday, July 2, 2012

This is not the wife you're looking for

Chris Pritchard shares a few stories of cross-cultural misunderstandings from his marriage with Suree, who is Khmer, in The Phnom Penh Post:

“I’ve just lost my wife,” I tell a shop assistant, when he asks how he can help.

“I’m really sorry to hear that,” he says, pretending to be sympathetic. “My condolences, sir.”

“No, no,” I stammer. “You don’t understand. I’ve just lost my wife – a half-hour ago, in this bookshop.”

Just then I spot Suree, browsing through local recipes in the food section.

“It’s okay,” I exclaim. “There she is. I see her now.”

By now the shop assistant is looking seriously alarmed. “Sir,” he says, as if speaking to a very small child, “That is not your wife.”

He is blocking my path, deciding I’m definitely deranged. “There’s nobody there, sir. She’s not there. There’s only a Chinese woman reading a book.”

I hope people enjoy this kind of anecdote, because I'm working on compiling a whole series of them. Something similar to At Home on The Mekong, but more focused on the humorous (if only in retrospect) miscommunications that arise in a world-spanning marriage.

Also, what is it with Cambodians and food?

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