Friday, June 23, 2006

Are They Talking About Me?

So I’m sitting here in our project office doing what I do and there’s chit chatter all around me but I don’t understand what anyone is saying. My vocabulary in Macedonian consists of maybe 10 words, Hello, Good Morning, Good Evening, Thanks, Please, Check Please, Waiter, Water, Left, Right, Straight, Holiday Inn, I am an American, I don’t speak Macedonian, I am fine, how are you, Good, Yes, No. Ok maybe more then 10 words but you get my drift. I don’t speak the language and I’m not expected to.

I’m used to being in spaces where the people around me are talking in a language I don’t understand. I’m used to feeling illiterate because the signs around me aren’t even in a Latin alphabet and maybe that’s why I can tune people out so well even when I’m home and everyone around me is speaking in a language I can understand.

Maybe this is also why I don’t understand why people complain about going to the nail salon or whatever place operated by foreigners and feel that they’re being talked about. (Side Note: Which they probably are lol, especially those with crusty feet). One can argue that they’re in the US and need to speak English, yet no where else in the world am I or others expected to speak in the local language when we’re with other Americans or English speakers. Maybe other countries are more tolerant because their languages aren’t spoken by gazillions of people.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, except to say we as Americans need to be more tolerant of other languages especially if the people talking aren’t addressing you.

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