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Mira mi Camaron! - From Short Travel Stories for English Learners

I wish I would have known

by Camille Hanson

BONUS! Audio of the story (in English)

I wish I would have known

Language learning is always an adventure, especially learning the slang words. When learning Spanish in Mexico, I learned some slang a little too late. It was late one evening and I was out with my American friends who were also learning Spanish.

A guy approached our table selling us little shrimp keychains made of cord and beads. My friend Ryan felt bad, because it seemed to be the man’s only job, and so he overpaid the guy for one of these keychains.

In our taxi on the way home, I got the hilarious idea to show our keychain out the window to anyone we passed by. So Ryan was showing the keychain, and of course, I wanted to too. So I shouted out the window, “Look at my shrimp, do you like the colors?”, laughing thinking it was hilarious. People looked and laughed, so I thought they thought it was funny too.

The next day, I was telling the story to my Mexican co-workers at the local cafe, where I volunteered. They were like, “Camille, do you know what shrimp is slang for?” Of course I didn’t. “Penis,” they told me.

My cheeks instantly burned 5 shades of deep red. I was so embarrassed. I had been telling all the lovely Mexicans to look at the beautiful colors of my penis. Sometimes, we learn the hard way, but at least I can laugh about it now.


Adventure  an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous experience or activity
Slang  words off the street used particularly to a certain region or city
Approached  came near to
Shrimp  a small sea animal typically marine, and frequently eaten
Keychain  a small chain for holding keys.
Cord  thin flexible string
Beads  a small piece of glass, stone or plastic, typically round and used to make jewelry
Hilarious  very funny
Window  an opening in a building or car, fitted with glass allowing you to see out
Co-workers  the people you work with
Volunteered  to help out somewhere without receiving pay
Penis  the male genital organ
Cheeks  the sides of the face below the eyes
Shades  different colors
Embarrassed  feeling or showing embarrassment


1. Where did Camille learn Spanish?
a) Spain
b) Mexico
c) The USA
d) Colombia

2. The shrimp keychains were made of cord and…

a) Rope
b) Ribbons
c) Beads
d) Buttons

3. Hilarious is a synonym for

a) Funny
b) Sad
c) Happy
d) Energetic

4. Camille volunteered where in Mexico?

a) At a shelter
b) At a restaurant
c) At a cafe
d) Driving a taxi

5. Camille’s friend was named

a) Rob
b) Ryan
c) Roger
d) Raul


1. b. Mexico
2. c. beads
3. a. funny
4. c. at a cafe
5. b. Ryan



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