For a little over a month, I’ve been trying to teach myself how to speak Spanish. I’ve been telling myself I was going to do it for a while, so I finally stopped procrastinating and started learning. I am no where close to being proficient, but learning none the less.
Living in Texas, any time someone doesn’t understand what you are saying a good percentage of the time it’s because they speak Spanish. Working in social services, I’ve learned how to speak some “Spanglish.” With the help of hand gestures and a mix of what I’ve learned, sometimes my clients and I can understand each other.
In my attempt to communicate with the Koreans, I don’t know why, but I’ve been trying the same method of using hand gestures and Spanglish.
These poor Koreans!!!
I have no idea why my brain has been making the connection that it is even a little bit logical to speak Spanish words in Korea, but that’s what has been happening, and it has been a hilarious mess. The Koreans look at me with blank stares and then I realize it is because not only am I speaking one language they don’t understand, I am throwing more foreign words in the middle of it all.
I have heard several people over the years say the words “If they live in our country, they should know how to speak our language.”
In my 5 days here, I’ve been reminded of those words. I’ve realized how cold we can be sometimes to not understanding what has brought someone to our country. Yes, some have come illegally, but a lot have come for a better life. Refugees from extreme violence, women and children trafficked for sex crimes, and people who wanted to provide a better future for their families.
It is extremely difficult to try to communicate when you don’t understand the primary language spoken by those around you. My hope is that this experience will continue to help remind me to be more gracious and patient with those who cannot understand the language spoken to them. Remember, learning a new language is hard!!