Monday, October 19, 2015

13 Days Left - Lessons I've Learned as an Expat


Today's thoughts I borrowed from a friend.  I'm sort of running out of ideas, so I begged a little help.  Just some ideas to motivate my mind! 

This idea goes back to the thoughts on communication.  How we communicate with other people says a lot to them about how much we care about them as people--as individuals.  

People who have lived overseas, especially where a foreign language is spoken, begin to have a different rhythm to their speech.  My husband is the most noticeable example of this I can think of.  When someone is struggling with their English a bit, he goes into a simplified version of speech.  He slows down a bit, not to the point where it's obvious, only to the extent that he's not rushing through his sentences.   He simplifies the terms he uses and keeps his sentences short.  We also learn to ask questions and convey answers in the most simplified way possible.  All of this comes through the painful experience of having survived in a place where English is not spoken.  When we meet someone who doesn't speak our language, we immediately identify with them and have compassion on them.

Why is this even important?  Because people want to be heard and understood.  If someone simply needs something as simple as directions, they have an actual need to get some place.  I am of no help if I spout out accurate, but unintelligible directions.   It tells them they are important when I speak in a way they can understand.   

It's something to consider as we run across more and more foreigners without even leaving home.

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