Today I was at my wife’s father’s navy picnic get together. It’s a good time with good food. However 95% of the time I have zero idea of what’s going on because everyone is speaking Vietnamese. Over the years I’ve gotten used to it and it’s no big deal. It’s a couple hours here or a weekend there with me not really knowing what’s happening around me. Everyone of them does speak English and I regularly hold meaningful conversations. They understand me (pretty much).
Today made me think of Japan last year. When I spent over two weeks with nobody understanding me and me understanding absolutely nothing from them. When you are somewhere when no one speaks your language and you don’t speak theirs, it’s a funky thing.
BTW, this is a really cool video on Japan I came across this morning.
It is cool and scary and weird and exhilarating all at the same time. After awhile I remember it just became like white noise. Like elevator music.
My favorite part was how much less stressed I was because I didn’t have to overhear a million infuriating conversations at restaurants or on the train or on the sidewalk. Have you ever gotten upset standing in line at Chipotle and being forced to hear a conversation between two teenage girls that is the on the most ludacris topic? Yeah, that doesn’t happen when you can’t understand what’s going on.
There are many experiences in life I could recommend to you. Somewhere near the top of my list would be having an experience like mine.
Have you had this experience before? What was it like to for you? If you haven’t, is there a place you’d like to have it?