Thank god it’s Friday
Anytime there’s some sort of uncomfortable silence during a birthday visit (or such), I queue in my list of English blunders. Like my extremely dainty colleague who asked a business partner’s kid: “And what is your best vak (sounds like f*ck) at school?” (Vak means subject.) Or my mother who asked – also to a foreigner – how Pointer dogs got their spotted fur. “They f*ck them like that.” (Fokken = breeding. No explanation necessary for the vocab mistake here.)
To avoid any similar embarrassing situations in the English language, we’ve got Buffi Duberman. The nicest and coolest (she also coaches Dutch singers on their pronunciation) you can think of. Although I hope she doesn’t coach our entire nation, because an error here and there would be sorely missed.
Buffi. Your book has been released. That must call for the ultimate TGIF feeling I would presume. What drink are we going to be seeing in your hand and what are you going to be toasting to?
‘Thanks for letting me join in the TGIF party! On Fridays at 5 there’s still some tea/water/leftover green smoothie in my glass because I’m still teaching at a school in Rotterdam, and have a long drive home afterwards. However, when I get home, then my husband is usually waiting in the driveway with a glass of wine. For real. I actually like this cheapass red wine called ‘Que Mas’. It’s embarassingly cheap and I love it. I try to make it sound sexy and sophisticated by calling it ‘Kate Moss’. So my husband greets me with ‘Here’s your Kate Moss’. Or I call him on my way home and say ‘Get Kate Moss ready’. And we toast to life! Life is such a gift and I’m so lucky that I get a new day every day. If I’m not teaching, then I’m probably having a gin and tonic and telling a dirty joke somewhere. .’
Your book is called ‘100 ways to save your ass in English’. Who needs to go out and buy this book? I can think of a couple of football coaches who might be interested, but who else?
‘I’ve been waiting by the phone for Louis for a long time. Maybe now he has some time. ;) My book is for everyone who wants (or needs) an English boost – it’s really everything I know about presentations, idioms, grammar, pronunciation, and the things you should definitely not say in English (unless you want to sound like your sweet mother). I got a mail this week from someone who speaks English every day at a high level, and she said there were so many eye-openers for her in my book about professional English. I also got a mail from a lower-level speaker who said this book gave him the confidence boost he needed, and he laughed his ass off, so I guess it’s for everyone! .’
”My book is for everyone who wants (or needs) an English boost”
What am I going to learn from it?
‘You’ll understand more about the subtleties and nuances of professional English, especially why many English people find the Dutch to be blunt and (occassionally) agressive. You’ll learn about different degrees of formality, so that you can shape your message according to the situation. For example, most people just use ‘can’ when, often, ‘could’ or ‘would’ is much more appropriate, and therefore expected. You’ll know how to give bad news gracefully, what to do when the shit hits the fan (that’s actually the chapter title – for when things go wrong during a business trip) , and how to sail through your next presentation or negotiation session with ease. Oh, and change or cancel an appointment without pissing people off. Handy!’
Your on a clear mission and work on a very personal level. You’re not only an English teacher, you’re also a life coach? What’s your reasoning for working like this?
‘Because I left a very safe, well-paid job at the Nonnetjes in Vught to follow my dream (which is to do exactly what I’m doing today). I created the whole industry of ‘Personal English Coaching’. When I first came up with this concept, based on my love of grammar (yes, I’m a grammar nerd), combined with my crazy sense of humor and creativity, everyone laughed at me. Now, hopefully, they’re laughing with me. Because I love what I do. I do it with love for people I love. And hey, if they’re not laughing with me, fuck them. Life’s too short to dwell on the haters. I stay in the light. People who call me know that I’m going to be honest, make them work hard, work just as hard with them, and we will laugh a lot. And end every session with a hug. Hugs are awesome. .’
Okay, since we can never get enough of them, what’s a common mistake made by us dumb Dutchies that makes you hurl? I always get uncomfortable when people ask me ‘Can you make a picture?’ It’s TAKE a picture, ‘make’ means you’re heading into a photography darkroom. But I’m sure you can name a couple more frequent errors.
‘How much time do you have? Here’s some epic ones I have heard myself. Don’t shoot the messenger. ‘
· ‘I’m coming at home later’ = I’m having my orgasm at home later (thanks for sharing).
· ‘My boss is the longest one in the office’. Now we know how she got the job…
· ‘Santa Claus came on my son’s class today. I had to stay and clean up afterwards but I took some nice pictures first’. I don’t even know where to start.
· ‘He’s an excellent cock. His wife is a great cock too, they should start a restaurant together!’
And one client ended our course with ‘Oh, Buffi thank you so much. I like working with you. Sometimes when I think of you I look at your picture and then I feel myself at home’. (I felt so dirty when he said this)
Or this just in – a note from a student – ‘Thank you Buffi for the fun lessons. You learned me so much.’ (facepalm).’
”One soy cap gets me halfway to where I want to go, then other one takes me to heaven and I stay there all day.”
Something I find difficult is when you find certain English sayings, but as soon as you translate them into Dutch, they sound like gibberish. Do you have a tip for this or is it better to just avoid them all together?
‘Avoid them. Do not say ‘Hey it comes for the baker’ unless you want to confuse someone. Use sites like www.dictionary.com and www.urbandictionary.com to expand your vocabulary and learn new words without translation. .’
Back to the order of the day: your weekend. Tell me about it. What does your Saturday look like?
‘Ah, in the morning I go for a run or go to the gym. Then a green smoothie. Then 2 soy cappuccinos. One soy cap gets me halfway to where I want to go, then other one takes me to heaven and I stay there all day. I work every Saturday at the emergency refugee tent camp which has 500 refugees. I’ve been volunteering there fora bout 8 hours a week since the day it opened in September. I teach Dutch and English and talk and hug and make tea. I listen a lot and learn so much. I’m home around dinnertime and then I usually make (veggie) Mexican food because my family is kind of hooked on it. Then more wine. Sometimes I go out, but I really love snuggling with my kids (while wearing my velour Kelly Family pants) on the couch after a long and crazy week. I work nearly every night so I don’t see them as much as I’d always like to. Sundays I start with yoga, then another green smoothie, then 2 soy caps and then I bake a (vegan) cake and work in my woman cave for most of the day – writing my newsletter (have you signed up yet?), correcting exams, preparing for my week ahead, etc. Sunday night I try to Netflix and chill. (wink wink).’
Which newspapers do you read and what music will you have blasting out of your Spotify account?
‘I read the NY Times, HUFF POST online, NUnl, Telegraaf, Lindanieuws, a bit of everything really. But I love HUFF POST’s political coverage. Dump the Trump, yo. Scary shit. On Spotify I have a ‘Buffi’s Favorites’ list and a ‘Buffi’s New Favorites’ list and a ‘Buffi’s Another Favorites’ list. Full of stuff I love- everything from Public Enemy to Bowie to Kendrik Lamar to Squeeze and the Cure. I listen to one of those lists when I run. And when I’m in the shower. .’
”I am kind of loving Ted Baker, though – love his bold use of color and fabrics.”
Any plans to go out shopping? If so, where, what and how much?
‘I shop a lot in my head all the time. And then I go into the store and forget why I walked in there. I am kind of loving Ted Baker, though – love his bold use of color and fabrics. Love my purple La Dress Jumpsuit. Don’t think I ever met a jumpsuit I didn’t like, actually. And it’s hard to walk past a boot store. Unless it’s next to a bag store. I love accessories. I don’t have a lot of clothes but I have baskets full of scarves and waaaay too many funky necklaces and boots. I always want to be comfortable and if I could live in yoga clothes I probably would. I have written all 3 of my books in yoga clothes and do my best writing without a bra on, usually. But hey, my clients are worth getting hooked up for.’
Which restaurants are still on your places-I-need-to-eat-at-before-I-die list?
‘De Kas in Amsterdam, and vork en mes was on my list and then I went there and it was amazing, now it’s on my ‘to go back to’ list. I’d like to go to a raw or vegan restaurant one day, that would be so much fun. And hey if anyone wants to take me for sushi at the Okura, I would not say no.’
Your ideal Saturday night, what does it look like?
‘I would have a huge table full of my family from Europe and America, my beloved refugee friends , my super smart and sexy girlfriends, a few fabulous students and special clients, and somehow I would make everyone meal that would make everyone weep with joy (without harming animals) and then we would get drunk and dance on the tables because all of a sudden Beyonce and Kendrik Lamar would stop by and join the party and then we would end the night in the morning with a toast to world peace because wars would end that day and everyone would just love each other. That’s my ultimate Saturday night, but I’m actually willing to do this any night of the week if it works out better with Yoncé’s schedule.’
”I start with yoga and try to stay in yoga clothes all day”
And then there is Sunday. Is it very different from your Saturday?
‘Yes I write a lot. And correct exams. I start with yoga and try to stay in yoga clothes all day. Lately, I’m kind of into taking really long walks. Last week my husband and I went on a spontaneous walk – we walked 10 km and then went out for breakfast . Definitely doing that again. If I don’t have to write a lot and the weather is crap I watch a movie with my kids. Usually something with dinosaurs/aliens/superheros first for my son, then a romcom with my daughter. Love them both! .’
Picture this, time difference, jet lag and money are not an issue. What would your perfect weekend look like?
‘Take everyone I love to a place where they need love and help and help the people there have a better life. For real. How fucking awesome would it be if I could take all my friends and say ‘We are flying to Syria to stop the war. We are going to Greece to build tents. We are going to Africa to build schools. Let’s go! ‘ I know my friends and family would be so into that. If I ever win the lottery, that’s going to happen. Fuck laying at the pool with a cocktail. Boring as shit. Get off your ass and change the world. And take some Kate Moss with you. .’
Last but not least, your work week, when does it start?
‘Monday morning 9 AM I’m driving to the Rockacademie where I teach my hungry heroes about English, songwriting, social media, and life. And just a note for the people who think that Mondays suck. Mondays do not suck. Your job sucks. Mondays are awesome if you do what you love! Woot! !’