After living in South Africa for over 8 years, I have picked up many South African expressions. With us leaving for the States tomorrow, I've been thinking about how many of them I'll probably inadvertently use while I'm there. It makes me chuckle because I know that asking someone, "Can I use your toilet?" will certainly invoke a humorous response!
I often use the Afrikaans word "lus" (pronounced liss). We don't have a one-word English equivalent, but "lus" basically means "in the mood for". I'm lus for a Starbucks chai latte!
I've picked up the South African habit of saying "shame" a lot. Now you need to understand that "shame" can be either positive or negative. Basically it's an expression that conveys sympathetic feeling, but it carries many different meanings based on the context in which it's used.
When being told of something horrible that happened, my reply will probably begin with "Shame!" (meaning: Oh my goodness, that's terrible!) When a friend biffs it (making a fool of herself, but not getting hurt): "Shame!" (meaning: Ok, that was funny!) When someone tells me about a cute baby they saw: "Shame!" (meaning: Aww, how sweet!) When I bump into something, injuring myself: "Shame!" (meaning: Dang, that hurt!) When I see someone with a screaming toddler: "Shame!" (meaning: What a bummer!) Anyway, I definitely overuse "Shame!" and if you see me in the States, you're bound to hear me say it!
For a while, I'm most likely going to climb into the wrong side of the car, since our steering wheels (in South Africa) sit on the opposite side. Let's hope that I don't accidentally drive on the wrong side of the road as well!
It will take a while for my mind and mouth to readjust to America. But I'm ready - and excited - for the challenge!
(Mom - the title of my post is for you... anytime I think of Neil Diamond's song, I picture you singing along!)