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Monday, November 16, 2009

Lost in Translation

From the warped viewpoint of Jennifer Neff


This term, when I chose to take a physical education class, I chose one called NIA because the description sounded interesting. Basically, NIA is an aerobic exercise that combines martial arts movements with dance and yoga. The first day of class I knew I would have a fun time with it because I left the dance room feeling great and because my teacher is an artful mix of insanity and social awkwardness (in a good way). For blogging purposes I'll call her Annie.

Being a native German speaker, Annie has demonstrated a knack for English speech blunders and also for misunderstanding what students say to her. Sometimes this merely results in a moment of confusion, while other times it turns into hilarity. For example, a few weeks ago Annie was demonstrating how hip thrusts can help to strengthen our core muscles. She began giving examples in every day life of how we use our core muscles. When she asked the class for input, she got answers ranging from sneezing to sit-ups. One girl in our class also said we use our core muscles when we get up out of bed in the morning. To this Annie replied, "yes, you can work your core in bed." Before she could stop herself she had said it and was fairly embarrassed.

Today, class started out like any other day. We went over our topic of focus, started the music and began our aerobics. Annie was motivating us to find more depth in our movements and really get sweating in the workout. After three or four songs passed a majority of the class was tired, sweating and ready for a water break. It was at this moment that hilarity struck. As students began to head for their water bottles, Annie was so excited at how hard we were working that she side-stepped up to a Bulgarian girl in our class, and with a swishy hip movement she raised her arm right next to the girl and half shouted, "aaaah, smell the roses!"

In response to what must have seemed like a sudden attack, the Bulgarian girl leapt back about three feet to distance herself from our teacher. Immediately, the entire class began laughing uproariously. Annie tried to smooth things over by telling us she was talking about the smell of perfume and deodorant being activated by our sweat (proof that we were really working), but the damage was already done. For our class, this day will go down in infamy as the day our teacher attacked a student with her armpit.

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