The concept of leaving a message is kind of foreign here.
It isn’t really used, so I mostly forget about it when I’m stateside after not utilizing this service for a few years. And if I call any of you while I’m in the States, you’ll notice that I’ve completely lost the skill of leaving a message: concise, clear, and with a point worth the fact that you went through the mess of listening to this.
Tonight, a friend wanted to call America.
It started days ago when she asked if she could call America and provided a number that was not the proper amount of digits. Even today, she finally had a number in hand that could possibly work, but still started with a country code to leave either Columbia, Nigeria, or Ecuador. We decided to drop the country code altogether and try it with our free Skype line.
She’s illiterate, so they numbers were child-like. We misread a nine as a four and got a hold of Candace.
With a potentially right number, we tried three times with no answer. It rings a few times and then goes to an automated woman saying to “Please leave a message for (insert automated number reading).”
Their not having an official message, like Candace had, is actually a sign it might be a Burmese resettled refugee! They never had their messages set up when we were working with them! 🙂
After a few tries, I attempted to teach Jean Wei how to leave a message. I explained that a high-pitched nice woman would speak English, there would be a beep, and then she should say something. I suggested, “Hi, I’m Jean Wei. I will call you tomorrow.”
She nodded in understanding, which I took to mean she understood.
The nice lady spoke English, the beep came, and…silence.
Jean Wei, speak now.
“Hello? Hello? Nephew? Are you there?”
No, he’s not there. Say your name and that you’ll call tomorrow.
“Are you there? Nephew?”
Insert Kelli & Stephen in broken, quick Burmese: “Uhh, this is Jean Wei. She’ll call you tomorrow. Or in 5 minutes!” And then laughter.
If it is an English-speaking American on the end of that phone, they are going to be very confused. If it is a Burmese relative of Jean Wei, he might be slightly less confused, but confused all the same.
Leaving a message is quite the art. And apparently none of us in this little community have the finesse!