A phone conversation this afternoon between my step-dad John in America and my friend Jean in Mali:
[phone rings. John answers.]
Jean: Est-ce que Jennifer est la?
John: Who is this?
Jean: C'est Jean. Vous pouvez la dire que je l'ai appelé?
John: I don't speak whatever language you are speaking.
Jean: I do not speak English.
Christmas morning: (Masaran studies English at the university in Bamako)
[6 am. phone rings. John answers. Jennifer sleeps]
Masaran (chipper voice): Is Jennifer there!??
John: [grumpy early morning voice]Who is this?
Masaran: It is Masaran! Is Jennifer there!??
John: [grumpy, doesn't realize phone credit is expensive in Mali] Anne! Phone for Jennifer! [passes phone to Anne, returns to bed]
Anne: [walks to my room. climbs into my twin size bed] phone is for you.
Jennifer: Who is it?
Anne: Someone from Mali. [passes phone]
Jennifer: [holds phone to ear. line dead.]
[5 seconds later. phone rings. Jennifer answers]
Jennifer: [very groggy early morning voice] hello?
Masaran: Merry Christmas Jennifer!!!!!
Jennifer: Merry Christmas Masaran!
Masaran: Just to greet - goodbye!
[later in the morning]
John: [normal grumpy voice] Why would anyone call that early?
Jennifer: John, it's hard to remember the time difference when you're in Mali. Even I call too early sometimes.
John: Well, for Christmas we should get you and your friends a map with the time zones clearly marked.
Jennifer: Good idea. Next year.
Nothing like the holidays to bring the world together! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!