Misunderstandings are the way of life when working cross culturally. Speaking and communicating can be polar opposites as thoughts are processed from varying perspectives. Naturally everyone believes themselves to be correct and often detailed explanations yield little gain.
It can be frustrating, but sometimes it’s funny. I laughed out loud as I came across this anecdote in my current read, The Hacienda, A Memoir by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran. My missionary amigas will identify, I’m sure.
The rest of Joanna’s stay was spent immersed in the hacienda. She loved Casa Grande and its grounds…Matilde was fascinated by her inability to speak Spanish, as were Alba and Lorena, who wanted to know if it was because she had been dropped on her head as a baby. Every time Joanna said anything and I translated with a ‘Doña Joanna says…’, they looked at me askance and said, ‘But how do you know that?’
‘Because she just told me so’. ‘
‘But she didn’t say anything, we heard her, she just makes noises.’