why living in europe is the most humbling experience (for me, at least)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

parks-and-recreation-plaza (1)

after almost 3 years, i’ve finally come to terms with the fact that, while living abroad,

a) i will never really know what’s going on*

and

b) 50% of the time i open my mouth to speak a language that is not my own (usually german, sometimes spanish), i will sound like a complete idiot.

but i’d rather make the effort (refusing to speak english unless i absolutely must) and fail half the time than never try.  you know?  it’s worth it to me.  because, while i struggle a little bit every day, i manage to learn a little every day, too. 

and i’m not sure, but i think (i think!) that’s what matters.

 

* never really knowing what’s going on = me walking around in a semi-perpetual state of confusion…which, come to think of it, happens in the good ol’ US of A quite a bit too.  hmm….

20 comments:

Megan said...

agree with you so much girl. the reason i have always loved the time i have spent living abroad (first in germany and now norway) is because everyday i learn something new. i feel like i mastered the art of dealing with americans (which is NO easy feat), and now it is time for me to master the art of dealing with europeans (which is an even harder feat given no one will talk to me without me forcing them to open up their mouths....ok unless they have alcohol in them).

with that said, i feel bad for people who don't travel and see daylight outside of the united states.

nova said...

I think that's the funniest thing about traveling...you never know what is happening. The best is when you're trying to tell a story to someone later on about something that happened.

Like just a few days ago I was telling people at work that when I lived in mexico my roommates called me 'the black balloon' but I could not explain why.

haha

It is very humbling, that's for sure. I learned very quickly how to say "I am feeling frustrated" in Spanish.

debbiecutieface said...

having lived in several countries, I find it so frustrating when foreigners don't make at least an ATTEMPT to learn the local language. It's part of the country's charm and culture, after all! You could really be missing out, you know? So I give you mad props for making an effort! That's all that matters.

Daryl said...

could not agree more! Appropriately, today is my first day back to language school!

Eeny said...

I am sure you German is pretty good after almost 3 years. I like the fact that you rather try and make mistakes than refuse.

Check out this video - so funny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxUm-2x-2dM

K said...

can completely empathize with the above. at least you speak the language :) hearing Swedish all around me is like being dropped in with all the muppets and getting nothing haha

withoutizy said...

I'm so lost with Cesky. Seriously. I want to make the effort, but whenever I tell a local person, who speaks English, that I want to learn Czech, they just ask "Why"

well, if I plan to be here for another year, I'd at least like to break down some communication barriers for myself... hmmm. they seem shocked.

Bridget said...

haha love this.

psh, us americans, try as we might, we'll never be as cool as those europeans with their stupid multi-lingual knowledge. but hey! we got mcdonalds, suckas!

(total sarcasm).

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

Word.

I also wonder, "will I ever stop making basic errors every time I open my mouth?" despite a generally good knowledge of the language... doesn't help that I recently started a new one...

Mel said...

Hopefully I'll get to study abroad in Spain next year. I'm excited, but I'm not sure I'm fully prepared to be completely lost all the time. Glad you always try to speak the language, even if you make mistakes. I'm going to try that and hopefully I'll learn something!

Stephanie said...

I don't know why, but this makes me want to live abroad even more than I already do. : )

e.r.a. said...

I think it's humbling to see how much culture is alive in Europe. I am always in awe at how OLD everything is there, and how beautiful.

Celeste said...

I felt the same way about speaking Italian. Maybe one day we'll be fluent!

hayley.jay said...

I miss speaking German so much. I need to perfect it by February when I go back to visit so I can communicate with the boyfriend's mother :[ Rosetta stone maybe?

Jenni Austria Germany said...

@hayley, i sometimes feel like i should probably do rosetta stone in addition to speaking it with natives...it couldn't hurt, right??

TexaGermaFinlaNadian said...

I will never really know what’s going on = truest statement about living in Europe..EVER! :) 3 years, wow girl, you are going native, lol.

Nikskie said...

i know...
even when you live in the same country but in a different city, there's a thing or two to learn everyday too

Jan said...

I'm so proud of you and all your 'traveling'/living abroad.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

thanks mom :)

the {Postscript} blog said...

Hahaha I totally know what you mean!!!
Europe sounds so awesome, I really have to head there sometime for sure!!
Newest follower :), I figure I can at least see europe through you haha
-Monica