The Unexpected “Love you” 

Photo courtesy Al Amin Khan, Unsplash!


Fairo is one of our newer writers from Afghanistan.  She is currently studying at university in Bangladesh and, very sweetly, agreed to share this story with us.  Her native language is Dari. At university, she also studies English and Bengali.

LEARNING a new language is hard, but so important—especially while we are traveling, or living, in a foreign country. We should know the language of that country at least enough     to be able to solve our problems.
     I want to share some of my experiences in Bangladesh. When I traveled to Bangladesh I didn’t know any Bengali words. Once, my friends and I decided to visit a beach which is called Novel Beach. There we rode in a boat. We asked the man who was the owner of the boat about the cost, but he didn’t know English and we did not know Bengali. Finally, we said some Bengali and English words and knew the price for one round was 5
taka. We were 7 people and we decided to enjoy two rounds. After a nice, long ride, we got off the boat and paid him 100 taka. We waited for him to return 30 taka but he asked us for more money! We were so surprised and didn’t know what he was saying. Finally, he wrote on his hand 700, so he was asking us for 600 taka more! Only then we realized our misunderstanding. Sometimes learning a language can be so confusing but sometimes it is also very funny!  
     I remember, for example, my very first days in Bangladesh. I knew only a few words in Bengali like
apu - sister, baya - brother, shamosha - problem, koto - how much. I also knew how to say, “I am fine” and “I love you” which we use to talk to our Bengali friends. Once, I went to a shop and said to the man working there, “Asalam ali kum” [a polite Muslim greeting]. He replied back to me in Bengali and then asked me how was I doing.  I responded, “Ami tomako valobashi,” and everyone started laughing, but I didn’t know why. Later, my friends told me that I said “I love you” to him instead of “I am fine”.  But I didn’t feel so bad because I learned this funny mistake happens to most foreigners because these two sentences are a bit similar to each other in Bengali.
     Now I am able to solve my problems in Bengali well and I enjoy learning it even when I make funny mistakes.  —Fairo

 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: