Language Barrier. Was there every a more apt phrase to describe the helplessness felt when trying to express oneself to someone who speaks another language?
Of course in Taiwan our friends speak excellent English, so there is no real language barrier. But somehow I still manage to feel a bit like the Ugly American expecting everybody else to speak my language. Yes, I know English is the universal language and nobody expects me to start rattling off fluent Mandarin, but what better way to show respect for them and their culture than to at least try to string a few words together?
Easier said than done. Let’s just say I won’t be hired as a UN translator any time soon.
But it’s also true that words aren’t the only way to express gratitude, friendship, and deep affection for one another. Small acts of kindness and little courtesies can bridge any language barrier.
A guiding arm holding yours as you navigate a busy street; your tea refilled at the instant you look about the table for the teapot; the choice piece of crab meat plopped into your bowl before you can object; an unexpected and perfectly thoughtful birthday gift arriving across the Pacific on the very day.
Our prompt this week was “express yourself.” Have I expressed thanks to you lately? If not, thanks for reading!