Sometimes it’s fun knowing a few words in the local language. You get to hear conversations that sound like this:
“blah, blah, we have blah blah green blah in the house.”
And you feel so proud of yourself for recognizing those words. You can guess what they might have in the house… is it veggies? roaches? sofas?
However, sometimes it is not nice knowing a few words in the local language. Like yesterday afternoon. I was walking home from the school and got catcalled twice and scoffed at once.
Hey, Shada. (“Hey, Whitey.”)
*Snorting and looking over at me* “hm, bideshi.” (“hm, foreigner.”
“Oooh, mishti baby” (“ooh, sweet baby.”)
When it’s a toddler commenting on my strangeness, that’s one thing. But the neighbors and local adults?
Perhaps I am not aware of it when I am busy talking to other people, but I notice that this kind of commenting just doesn’t happen when I am with another person. I need a protective friend bubble to walk with me wherever I go, I guess.