I’ll be honest: Before I left for Rome and Barcelona, I was feeling pretty pessimistic about my ability to speak French. I was listening to myself stumble over my words in every verbal interaction I had, saying “Comment?” (“What? Repeat?”) just as often. I was experiencing that intense frustration of creating a thought and not being able to express it in words. In my mind, every conversation was an oral exam that I was barely passing. Talk about putting pressure on myself.
Then I was in Rome. As my boyfriend Matt and I were looking for our friend’s apartment, we stopped inside a small cosmetic store to ask for directions. This is what I thought in my head: “Where are we? We’re trying to go here on the map.” I thought it in English. I thought it in French. And I realized I didn’t know any of those words, not a single one, in Italian. I settled on using gestures, and we received a similar response giving us directions. I’ve experienced a language barrier every day since January 27, but this was more than that — this was a barricade.Read More »Language barricade