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Bumps

My 12-year-old Norwegian niece explains why she doesn’t ever want to go to the States: “Because of all the bumps.”

“... Bombs?” my mother guesses.

“Bumps,” my niece insists defensively, but it turns out she actually does mean bombs.

“Which bombs?” I ask. “I mean, they have lots of bombs, but normally they drop them on other countries.”

“What about...” My niece fumbles for the word. We let her; she’ll almost certainly find it without any prompting. Her English is impressive, light years ahead of, for example, my Norwegian. My attempts to speak it usually provoke unstifleable giggles, my accent acceptable but my unsteady grasp of grammar and syntax leaving me sounding like a three-year-old with a thyroid problem. “... the flights?”

“Oh, that,” I say after a moment, and suddenly find myself talking about 11 September in terms I never would have thought possible at the time: “Well, look, it only happened once. It doesn’t go on all the time.” (A potential slogan there for the New York tourist authority.)

She won’t be swayed, though. America is apparently full of people flying themselves into buildings and blowing stuff up, and she wants no part of it.

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Comments

offensive_mango
Apr. 16th, 2007 09:37 am (UTC)
Wow, that's certainly a blow to America's PR. I grew up being taught that everyone in the world wanted to come to America and live there, that it was the best country in the world with the best opportunities, and that if someone didn't want to come to America, they hated freedom.

Why does your niece hate freedom?
webofevil
Apr. 16th, 2007 09:50 am (UTC)
I guess at heart she's a Communist.
offensive_mango
Apr. 16th, 2007 09:54 am (UTC)
The Red Menace in your own family!

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