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Below you will find parallel text in English and French

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.


Slang words off the street used particularly to a certain region or city.

Keychain a small chain for holding keys.


Si seulement j’avais su

L’apprentissage des langues est toujours une aventure, en particulier l’apprentissage de l’argot. Lorsque j’apprenais l’espagnol au Mexique, j’ai appris certains mots d’argot un peu trop tard. C’était tard un soir et j’étais dehors avec mes amis américains qui apprenaient aussi l’espagnol.

Un type s’est approché de notre table pour nous vendre des porte-clés en forme de crevette, faits de cordelettes et de perles. Mon ami Ryan s’est senti mal, car il semblait que c’était le seul travail de cet homme, et il a donc surpayé le type pour un de ces porte-clés.

Dans notre taxi sur le chemin du retour, j’ai eu l’idée hilarante de montrer notre porte-clés par la fenêtre à tous ceux que nous croisions. Ryan montrait donc le porte-clés, et bien sûr, je voulais en faire autant. J’ai donc crié par la fenêtre : “Regarde ma crevette, tu aimes les couleurs ?”, en riant, pensant que c’était hilarant. Les gens regardaient et riaient, alors j’ai pensé qu’ils trouvaient ça aussi drôle.

Le lendemain, je racontais l’histoire à mes collègues mexicains du café local, où je faisais du bénévolat. Ils m’ont dit : “Camille, tu sais ce que veut dire “crevette” en argot ?” Bien sûr que je ne le savais pas. “Pénis”, ils m’ont dit.

Je suis devenue rouge comme une tomate. J’étais tellement gênée. J’avais dit à toutes les belles Mexicaines de regarder les belles couleurs de mon pénis. Parfois, on apprend à nos dépens, mais au moins je peux en rire maintenant.


Slang words mots de la rue utilisés en particulier pour une certaine région ou ville.

Keychain  c’est un porte-clés.


Now available in English with parallel text in 5 languages

Reading is such a great way to learn vocabulary and my book has 26 stories each with keywords like above. It also includes the FREE audio (details in the book) for English pronunciation and comprehension practice

Camille Hanson Short Travel Stories for English Learners

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Short Travel Stories for English Learners
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