Fine, thanks.

ButterscotchI must confess, when I first got here, I cheated.  I cheated for a whole year.  You see, greeting is really important.  How are you?  How did you sleep?  How is your health?  How is yesterday’s fatigue?  How is your house?  How is your wife?   A normal interaction has about 6 of these exchanges.  My friends know that I don’t have family here, so they ask about my dog. 

Here’s the cheat: all of these questions can be answered with the same phrase, which literally means "it is sweet."  So, even though most of the time I didn’t know what people were saying, I would just answer "it is sweet," and they’d go on and on about how well I knew their language.  Lately, though, I’ve been trying to understand more, and give the right answers. 

The other day I was sitting with a friend, and a guy who’d been drinking a little too much of the local beer came up and greeted me.  It was hot, so I stopped trying to understand and just kept saying how sweet everything was.  But, since he was a bit tipsy, when that was the wrong answer, he let me know!  He repeated himself 3 times, then someone else told me that he had said "Give me something."  I happened to have a piece of candy in my pocket, which I promptly gave him.  Everybody cracked up.  It was sweet.

Story time

One of the things I’ve been doing is collecting stories.  They are great for learning language and important to study.  Mostly I’ve gotten fables so far.  That’s good-I need to know what a fable sounds like, so that the stories we eventually produce don’t sound like that.  They need to sound like true stories, because they are! If you want to hear more about the stories I’m working on, click here.  You might have to hold down the control key (CTRL) while you click.Sun_2

So, just for fun, here’s a story someone told me.  I think he made the language really simple so I could understand it. Don’t ask me what the death ceremonies are-I still have tons to learn about the culture!

The Bat and the Sun

The story I’m going to tell you is the about when the sun
and the bat were still friends. One day, the sun’s mother died. Since the sun’s mother was dead, he sent his
son to go to his friend the bat’s house to ask him for a piece of cloth to bury
his mother in.

So the son went to the bat’s house and said, “Your friend’s
mother is dead. He sent me to get a
piece of cloth. Then he will go back and
do the ceremonies of death for his mother, and his mother’s death will be good."

The bat took the cloth and gave it to the son of the
sun. The son went back and gave the
piece of cloth to his father. His father
did the ceremonies for his mother’s death, then he took that piece of cloth and
he buried his mother.

Not even two days later the bat’s mother died as well. Since the bat’s mother was dead, the bat sent
his child saying, “Go to my friend’s house and get me the piece of cloth. My mother is dead. I’m going to bury her.”

So the child left. When
he arrived he said, “Your friend said to give him the piece of cloth, he is
going to bury his mother. His mother is
dead.”

The sun said, “Oh, me and my friend there, we have
quarreled. I took that piece of cloth
and  I buried my mother. If you go back, you tell him that I buried that
cloth with my mother.”

And the child went back. The bat asked, “Where is the cloth?

And his son said, “Your friend said that he took that cloth,
and he buried it with his mother.”

Then the bat said, “Yes, that sun and I, we have
quarreled. I’m not going to look at the
sun any more, I’m going to look at the ground.” He turned his face, he lowered it, he looked at the ground.

From that day on the bat has hung upside down, even today he
lowers his head, looking at the ground.