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Microwave Mishap

I call this the microwave story.

Seven years ago, I embarked on a study-abroad program in Colombia. Having family there it is always customary to ask if you can bring something into the country, as it may be prohibitively expensive there. My Aunt Rosi asked me to bring a microwave.

No problem, or so I thought.

I had been in the country no more than 10 minutes and found myself trying to talk to the customs guy (I couldn't speak Spanish well yet, as this was the main objective of my trip).

"What do you have in the box?" he asked. My mind was racing, how do you say microwave? Surely it must be like other American words that naturally are understood in foreign languages if you just say it with a Spanish accent. Some that came to mind were baseball=beisbol, football=futbol, basketball=basket. So I gave it a go.... "microjueva?" I said tentatively. The man's eyes flew wide open, and he shook his head unbelievingly. "Microjueva" I said more firmly and confidently. A little smile, couldn't hurt, I thought.

"Describe it!" he commanded. "Well...", I faltered using all of the Spanish I could muster up, "It's big, black, cooks things real fast, has a lot of heat energy, but it makes things really hot..." He walked over to his companion, laughing and guffawing, they talked it over and he came back, red-faced from laughing with a funny smile. "Microhorno o Microhonda", he said between snickers. Sure, I remembered, horno means oven so just put the micro in front of it. Great! Thanks! I paid my tax and went my merry way.

Later, in Rosi's house she asked me if I had any difficulty in customs. Just that I had forgotten the name, I said. What did I say, she asked? I told her, "Microjueva. "No!?" she exclaimed, you didn't?! Yes, I did. What's so funny?

And then she told me, tears streaming down her face from laughing so hard, you said you were carrying a ... microtesticle!

Then I remembered the words I had used to describe it: big, black, cooks things really fast, HOT! I felt the flush of my skin, I knew for sure I was beet red.

Wow, not even ten minutes in the country and I was making outlandish claims of having a microtesticle right here in this box. How much is tax?



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