Art of Misunderstanding

It’s easy to misunderstand. This is especially true when your home country isn’t the one you grew up in.

There are a lot of things about American culture that I don’t know about having lived in Asia most of my life. Going to college was enlightening for me in many ways.

There are still many times when I miss a cultural cue or pop culture reference, just ask my friends. They have many a funny story of me embarrassing myself or saying something silly.

It happened again recently.

On a recent media coverage I met a girl who just got engaged. I asked how they met.

“Playing Cooties,” she answered.

I wished my coworker had taken a picture of the expression on my face at that moment. Having lived in Asia, I do try to monitor my facial expressions, but sometimes it’s just plain hard.

Boys have cooties, that’s what every elementary and early pre-teen girl thinks. But, how do you play cooties? This doesn’t sound PG and I am not sure this is something you tell someone you just met.

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“Yeah, we were playing in the basement around New Years’ Eve.”

Sketchy. I think this might be TMI. I won’t tell you what I thought she meant by that.

“Will you tell your children that’s how you met their dad?” I thought. I had enough of a filter not to say this out loud.

She explained that Cooties is a game that many kids in America play growing up. I completely missed this phenomenon. She said you play it by adding parts to a cootie bug. You add limbs etc.

“It’s really intense,” she said.

Really intense? Adding plastic legs to a cootie bug is an intense game? I don’t understand.

I did look up the game and it is a legit Hasbro game, so she was not a sketchy of a person as I had initially thought.

Oh the joys of being a third culture kid. Experiences like this add to my arsenal. Next time, I’ll be prepared to joke about how wonderful cooties are.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa says:

    Tessa- Thanks for sharing about this…It helps to better understand the lives of our TCKs. :) Oh, and I just might have some Cooties in my game closet! ;)

  2. Sam Chen says:

    Don’t feel so bad, Tessa. I was just as confused when I read your blog post. If you google “cooties”, you’ll see that you’re not that far off–the first 5 or so links refer to what you originally thought. You need to scroll down the bottom of page one to find anything about the game (and not the new computer game either…that one’s just creepy). So don’t feel too bad.

  3. Cara says:

    I must admit that my brain went exactly where yours did, as well. Maybe I can claim “homeschooled” as a type of TCK. lol. ;)

  4. thaitessa says:

    Lisa- haha! You are welcome! Do you really? That is awesome.

    Sam-Glad to know I am not the only one who was confused! I feel like they could have come up with a better name.

    Cara-oh yes, I believe it is :) Glad to know I wasn’t the only one :) How are you girl? Enjoying being back in the US?

  5. Cara says:

    I am doing well back here in the states…already missing life overseas, but it has been good to catch up with family and friends in person. I start another year of nursing school in Jan (which will basically enable me to practice anywhere in the world!) and will probably work part-time, as well. Miss your face, sweet Tessa. Lifting you up to His throne.

    1. thaitessa says:

      So glad you are doing well girl! Glad it’s been a good time to catch up with family and friends. Exciting about nursing school! Wohoo! I miss your sweet face girl! Love you and thank you for your prayers!

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