Say What?!



Language Barriers.

When you travel there is bound to be some type of hilarious encounter.

Quite often due to a breakdown in communication between languages.

But what if that breakdown is in your native language?

Well, that can make it unexpected and garner even more giggles!

It’s Monday, so I thought that if you’re anything like me you could use a little humor in your life today.


Even in the United States, sometimes trying to understand what a person from the Deep South or from New England is saying may take them repeating it a few times before you catch on to what they are saying. If they throw in some local slang, it may become even harder!

We had already experienced working through differences in the English language on our first overseas trip. We were relieved that everyone in Amsterdam spoke English, but differences in colloquialisms came into play on a trip to Starbucks. One of the teenagers asked for a squirt of chocolate in their frappuccino. You could tell by the look the barista’s face that she wasn’t really sure what “squirt” meant. Some hand gestures later and it was agreed upon that “pump” was the term that she was familiar with. Which only makes sense given that is the term Starbucks uses. It was a wonderful learning experience for the teenager in how to work through language barriers.

Yes, we both speak English.

However, the best breakdown between English languages was experienced on my trip to Scotland. Given that English is their primary language, it never occurred to me that there might be any issues. Understanding their accent, maybe some issues. Complete cluelessness about language, never.

In this post, where I took you on the tour of the Murals of Glasgow, I mentioned that while we were in Glasgow we decided to take the train to Shotts to watch some of the Highland Games.

After making my mother and aunt hike from the train station to the location of the Highland Games, we finally made it.


When we approached the sign stating the entry fees, I commented to my mother “it’s 5Β£ each. There’s something about concessions being 4Β£. I don’t know if that means we have to purchase a ticket to be able to eat, but we’ll figure it out when we get inside. We can always come back and get that later.”

I hear all of you who are from the United Kingdom snickering already.

Don’t worry, it gets better.

I pay for the three of us to get through the gate. Our accents give away the fact that we are not locals so they give my mother a collectible spoon that they have for people who’ve traveled a long way. I think “what about me?” for a second, but then am relieved because I’m a minimalist-in-training and collectibles are not what I’m striving toward.

It’s already close to lunchtime so we know that we will be hungry soon. I see prices on the food trailers, but I’m still confused. My mom decides that she is going to go back to the gate and ask them if we need a ticket.


A few minutes later, she comes walking toward me. I can see that she is holding back tears of laughter. She tells me that I’m not going to believe what happened.

She asked them “what about the concessions?” and the lady taking the money says “well…” and the other lady in the booth steps into view, possibly concerned that my mother is going to become argumentative. The lady finishes her sentence “that’s really for people who are older than you.” To which my mother replies “oh, so it has nothing to do with food.” And they all start laughing and assuring her that “no, it’s not about food.”

Apparently, “concessions” in Scotland is what we refer to in the United States as a “senior citizen discount” and my mother is not in her mid-60’s or even 60 for that matter so they were surprised she was asking about the discount. In the United States “concessions” refers to a “concession stand”, a place where you purchase food at events. We thought that we couldn’t eat without a ticket to frequent the food trucks!

We laughed about that for days and still laugh every time we remember our “concession” experience.

I hope you found a good laugh in it too!

Oh.. and in case you’re wondering what Scottish men wear under their kilts… that day it was compression shorts.

Happy Monday!

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust

Let your light shine!


12 thoughts on “Say What?!

  1. Haha that is so funny! I love hearing about the differences. I am totally surprised by the differences in phrases between NZ and the US too. My close friend lived in Seattle for a while when she was younger and I remember her parents really confused people by saying that they would ‘Give them a ring in a fortnight’….when they meant ‘Give you a call in two weeks time’.

    1. I love learning new phrases. I remember reading the word fortnight in classic literature and I finally had to look it up to learn that it meant “two weeks” πŸ™‚

  2. I would have thought food too. What a great memory though.

    Kilts. I go weak in the knees for men in kilts. They look so handsome in all that plaid, wool, and finery. You know, I’ve always wondered more about what’s in their Sporran than if their wearing anything under their kilts. πŸ™‚ I think guys started the whole talk to get females interested in any case.

    1. It does make for a great memory.
      I do love kilts and there were plenty of them to see during our week there. I actually don’t give much thought to what’s under there as I expected that there would be something. I just think it’s a funny thing that’s become a topic of conversation. And yes, mostly likely started by guys ;). Now I’m curious about their Sporran. Hmmm… πŸ™‚

  3. I would have been clueless in the US if I encountered this term, because even in India, concessions means discounts. But great that you got to see some traditional games. We got so bogged down in ticking boxes during our UK trip that we really couldn’t do much off-the-beaten-path stuff.

    1. I find it so interesting to learn new terms in other countries. We did enjoy some off-the-beaten-path things since we were following in some of the footsteps of our ancestors who lived in towns near Glasgow. However, I do hope to make it back and see even more of the cities and find my way up to the Highlands. πŸ™‚

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