I'm such an immigrant
By soma.pullela Story ID: 69
(To preface this, I'm a half German and half-east Indian guy who was born/raised in Germany. This occurred about 30 years ago.)
I was about 9, we had recently moved to the States and by the time this occurred I had a decent understanding of the English language (or so I thought).
There was some occasion (that I can't recall) where the teacher was handing out gifts to each kid as part of the celebration. Each of us had to walk up to the front of the class to the teacher's desk where she handed each kid their gift (which were all nicely wrapped too, mind you, in little boxes about 3 inch cubed).
My name was called and I remained seated. I wouldn't budge.
The teacher continued to call out my name. A 2nd, 3rd and 4th time.
Nope. Not going. Screw that.
With me on the brink of bursting out in tears, the teacher walked up to me and attempted to hand me my gift directly.
I wouldn't take it.
Again, she tried. I refused, crossing my arms, and then began to cry.
I remember telling her that I don't want a gift and shouting, "No! No! No!"
In addition to everyone thinking I was even stranger than they already thought (I was certainly never the popular kid in class), the teacher was incredibly perplexed.
Not knowing what else to do, she calls up the ESL teacher (who actually spoke German and whom I really looked up to) over to the classroom and desperately asks for her help.
After rushing to the classroom, the ESL teacher comes in and gets a fast paced rundown of the situation. To which the response was simply to stare blankly, and then slowly begin to chuckle.
While still chuckling and borderline laughing, she walks over to the sobbing mess of a kid I was at this point and, in German, explains to me that the word 'gift' in English means 'present.' It's okay to take it and I should. It's not the word that I thought it was.
Gift, in German, means poison