Welcome to the second chapter of Crossing Mountains! I was so humbled and surprised by all the comments and support that people were giving in my first post. I was so excited to see people participating, giving their insights on how to overcome loneliness. My goal is to create a community of people who are able to help those who are finding it difficult to handle certain hurdles they face in their new homes. It’s always a great feeling to know that there are people you can go to when you’re in need and I would love for everyone to find someone they can turn to.
This week, I wanted to keep the topic a little lighter. I’m bringing up something I encounter for about 90% of my day: the language barrier. Even if you’re in a country that speaks the same language as you do, there are still differences because of slang and accents. I only took Japanese for a year and three months during university, about three years ago. You can probably imagine how much I learned and how much I retained, which is not very much. I can only make simple sentences and my vocabulary, is probably on the same level as a kindergartener’s. There are times when I’m too tired or don’t have the motivation to study, once I get home from work. Most of my studying ends up being done during my breaks at work. There are times I feel unmotivated to continue studying because I’m not sure if I’m progressing or what I’m learning will ever get to the level I would like it to be at. I know with that attitude, I’m DEFINITELY not going to get anywhere. I need to be focus and keep pushing myself, because I am improving and my co-workers are so happy to see me trying to speak their language.
Most of my day consists of attempting to figure out what everyone is saying. I usually say yes to any question that someone asks me. I feel like one day that will bite me in the butt, but I won’t know what I’m saying yes to, so I guess that’s a plus…? Sometimes I wish that I’ll wake up one day and I’ll understand everything that people are saying around me, but unfortunately the world doesn’t work like that. My first week here, when I was even more clueless than I am right now, I went to a bakery and the cashier started asking me something. I looked at him with round eyes and a blank stare and slowly shook my head ‘no.’ I then realized later that he was asking if I wanted a stamp card… Sometimes I feel like people are asking me for the answers to life’s biggest questions, when in reality, they’re only asking me if I want a stamp card. Note to self: no one will ever ask you for answers to life’s biggest questions here.
Now let’s talk about your story! If you have any experiences in overcoming language barriers or have any silly stories you want to share, please do! Other expats and I would love to hear your stories and receive any advice.
What have you done to overcome a language barrier? Do you have any tips on how to become a better language learner? Do you have any funny miscommunication stories to tell?
If you’ve written a post about language barriers, feel free to link it in the comments! We’ll be more than happy to read posts that will help us combat this obstacle.
Crossing Mountains serves to create a community and discussion between people who have moved from their homes and seek advice on how to cope with everyday and major hurdles they may face. If you have any suggestions on what topics to discuss, feel free to let me know in the comments or email me.
Previously on Crossing Mountains: Loneliness