In all of my years of baking, I have never been that person that had to go to the neighbors to borrow a cup of sugar or whatever else. I kind of always thought that it was an urban legend. Or something that only happens in tv shows or rom-coms. Until last night when I was baking pumpkin bread and was just short of vegetable oil. Not wanting to abandon my recipe mid-project, I put on my fancy clothes (read: Old Navy flannel pj pants and sock money socks) and went to the downstairs neighbors to "borrow" a cup of oil. (Side note: but why do people say borrow instead of take? Does anyone expect to return the cup of insertperishableproducthere?)
Our neighbors speak two languages- Portuguese and German. Guess which two languages (among many others) I don't speak? Portuguese and German. There was a lot of improvised sign language, some broken French on both sides, and a lot of confusion all around.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: (showing him cup) Essig bitte (turns out Essig is German for vinegar, NOT oil, that could have been bad!)
Me: kein zucker, essig ohne oliven (translation- no sugar, vinegar without olives)
Him: honig? (honey)
Lather, rinse, repeat this song and dance in both German and French for the next 5 minutes until his wife figured out what I wanted and produced a bottle of oil. I think he was trying to say that we can keep the bottle of oil that they gave us. Either that or he will break both of my husband's legs if we don't return it 5 minutes ago.
Moral of this story: learn German ASAP.