Translating Molasses

The Bohemian is peering over my shoulder. I’m at the laptop replying to an email from his family in the Czech Republic. They have been generous and written to me in English, and though the grammar isn’t perfect, the kind sentiment is clear. Congratulations on our impending marriage.

I want to reply in Czech and think how simple it all could be with a little help from Google Translate. Simply write all of my words in English, have that nifty Czech box fill up with words I can’t pronounce. Copy, paste. International communications accomplished.

But when I ask The Bohemian to proofread he says my email doesn’t make sense. The words are in strange tenses and phrases don’t relate. Why use Google when you have a Czech fiancé? Ok, easy. Sort of.

Let me just say here that, for one, my fingers are used to rapid fire on the keyboard. My phalanges are just pitter-patter taps behind my spiraling brain that seems to be zipping off thoughts at an even faster pace. Usually, when it comes to words, I’ve got them. And lately, when it comes to doing, I’ve been dancing my way through phone calls, emails, reservations and appointments like a tap dancing fool. Fast, effective, ta-dah!!

Well, here’s where the taps slow to silence. Finger pads paused on keys. The Bohemian spelling out words over my shoulder as we gaze at the email on the screen. He moves fairly effortlessly between English and Czech, but when he’s spelling a Czech word, he uses the Czech pronunciation for the letters. Hence, ‘e’ sounds like “eh”, ‘i’ sounds like “ee” and once in a while there is some random letter not found in the English language.

“You know, ‘ts’. It’s the letter ‘c’.”

No, actually, my Pimsleur’s Czech 101 doesn’t cover how to actually spell the words.  And I would never associate a ‘ts’ sound with the letter ‘c’.  I can barely pronounce the ‘ts’ sound.  Foreign territory indeed!courtesy of wikiversity

And I believe this is a good thing.

The Bohemian likes to look at me once in a while with a smile and say, “you’re running.” He’ll say the verb with that rolling Czech ‘r’. The man can most definitely bust a move but he does it in some kind of steady style. Thick and permeating like molasses rolling downhill. I’m that airy flutter of a butterfly or maybe a hummingbird on a nectar mission. Light and speedy. Running. I want to be molasses and roll.

So there I am at the keyboard, letter by letter, syllable by syllable, slowly seeping in the thick accent of a foreign language, trying to complete one, seven-word sentence. I’m certainly not running. My toes are barely unfurled. And when we finally finish with an Aloha and Na shledanou!, I add a PS, confessing I don’t speak Czech. That I used the aid of Google and The Bohemian.

I’ve always wanted to immerse myself in a foreign country with a different language. Would time in Czech just find me living, mostly, in silence and smiles? Would everything in my life – even my thoughts – simply slow waaaay down due to the effort in just buying a loaf of bread?

A five sentence email took 30 minutes, but it sure was fun. I’d like to take a pause on running. I like this molasses roll.

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