Monday, September 20, 2010

Can't get you out of my head

'Yes' and 'no' seem like such universals. Shaking your head side-to-side means 'yes', and up-and-down means 'no'. Right?
Unfortunately, the opposite is true here in Bulgaria. A little wiggle back and forth means 'yes'. Kind of similar to what they do in India. Then you can either go up-and-down for 'no' or a more clear side-to-side. My Bulgarian professor told me a story once of a group of Americans traveling to Bulgaria. They stopped for a beer and asked the waitress if they had Zagorka. She shook her head. They asked if she had Ariana. She shook her head again. They went through the entire list of beers and she shook her head on everyone. Disappointed they were about to leave, when she asked them why they didn't choose a beer, since they had so many choices. This Bulgarian peculiarity is truly confusing, but important to remember.
This difference, coupled with living in Seoul last year, has caused me to make an ass out of myself on a number of occasions. 'Ne' in Korean means 'yes'. 'Ne' in Bulgarian means 'no'. I'm so used to bobbing my head up and down and saying 'ne'; I can't stop this habit! My landlady was asking me yes or no questions and I was trying to agree with her, but just continually said 'no, no, no'. I think in about two more weeks I'll be Bulgarianized. Which will be great, until I leave the country. Then I'll have to confuse my lil' old brain once more.

1 comment: