A chilly lonely night about 4 years ago, just couple months after I turned 14. I moved into this house with the great curiosity and terrible uneasiness. The temperature in the house dropped down to the point that I could not even warm myself up in any ways, so I sauntered out of my room and talked to this lady who I assumed would know everything of the house. I asked her if she got any slipper that I can have. She turned around and get me half of a sleeping pill then asked me something, something that I wish I could have ask her to repeat it again before I answered “yes”, before I woke up on my bed 14 hours later at the very next day. It was my first time to stay with an American family, and also the first time to experience that never answer “yes” before you understand the question fully.
As an international student I believe many of the other international students have faced the same issue. Obviously, it was not a fun experience neither an easy task to learn from. Able to speak another language well enough to communicate with the people who speak that language takes lots of efforts. As the poor pronunciation skills and bad interpretation and understanding of listening ability that we have at the beginning, plus the Easterner inherently shy personality which often makes us to answer a single word “yes” to avoid the embarrassment of making ourselves stupid by saying something incorrectly. But more often by using this little “yes”, makes ourselves even dumber.
After so many years, even I can speak and understand English better. I still made the same mistakes all the time by answering “yes” when I know that I should not. This problem that I have always concerned caused me badly. For example, sometimes I did the wrong assignments, paid the wrong amount of money, ordered the wrong food. But fortunately, I am not saying “yes” as often now, seldom I will go with “no”.
I believe people can learn from their mistakes, but I also believe not all the mistakes can be learned by experiences. And this is one of the best examples forever.