Angel was forcing me to smile next to the fish.
Angel said, "I'm just going to ask someone. I'm going to ask if they have any ji nai."
With that, he walked away quickly, because he knows that I like to stop him from saying ridiculous things in Mandarin to other people when I can. I immediately chased him down, but I knew I didn't have time to explain to him that he CANNOT say ji nai because that literally means "chicken breast/milk" and while I can sort of understand his reasoning of chicken + breast milk = chicken breasts, chickens are not mammals and thus don't produce breast milk and you are really going to confuse someone if you ask for "chicken milk".
So I ran ahead of him to the meat counter and breathlessly asked, "you mei you ji pai?"
Ji pai was the first thing that came to mind as a possible translation for chicken breast. Pai gu means "ribs" so I was trying go with a "chicken rib" translation, but the genius meat counter lady said, "ji xiong?" which I immediately recognized as "chicken chest", a much more reasonable term than either "chicken milk" or "chicken rib".
Yes, ji xiong was what I wanted, it seems so obvious now, but I couldn't think of it at the time. Funny, how in 4 years of college classes they don't think to teach you the proper terms for all the cuts of meat you might want to purchase.
The best part of this story is that I did successfully prevent Angel from asking anyone for chicken milk. We have two totally different methods of language learning--I'm the slow, cautious one who doesn't want to talk unless I know exactly what I'm going to say. Angel's the learner who will just throw out words even when he has no idea what they mean or what order they should go in. Angel's method is actually better than mine since he has the guts to talk even when he doesn't know how...but still..."chicken milk" is one for the record books.
What kind of language learner are you? More like me or more like Angel?