Yeah, I couldn’t resist using another Shaun T’s quote again. I work out to his videos everyday, and even though it’s about exercising, I can apply it to other aspects of my life.
Sure, being an expat can be different and adventurous, even fun at times, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty parts…a prime and popular example is the language. Just the other day I wished a certain person a great summer and instead of being reciprocated the same thing in the same, warm way, the reaction I got was a writer’s block face. They stood there, with a blank expression on their face, and after what seemed like two minutes, they replied “you too”, but they had rephrased what I said every so slightly, and in a way which they were “correcting” me. All because I hadn’t phrased my “farewell best wishes” the way they’re used to hearing from the exact same people they see every single day. I felt like telling them that they need to open their mind a little (a lot) more and adjust their ear to people who’s first language isn’t Spanish, but who do make every effort to be understood. Heck, I don’t want to leave out the part where the thousands of expats like myself in that city have left their comfort zone and are trying to live a decent life in a place where English isn’t spoken. You must multiply people like them by millions because otherwise that example doesn’t serve any purpose nor have sufficient leverage.
So what I’m trying to say is that the more understanding and compassionate “native” people are to immigrants, refugees, and expats when it comes to speaking and understanding the language, the easier it will be for both sides.
When life gets tough, “dig deeper”. At least you’ll know how to react if a similar situation arises.
But what’s the point of life if we aren’t met with challenges which help us grow? Hmm…
2 thoughts on “Dig Deeper…facing challenges as an expat”
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This is an excellent topic, Shamim. I don’t know why, but for my entire life, I have been put off when someone speaks to me in a heavy foreign accent. It is an auto response that I don’t understand. I do try to overcome it, but it must be very difficult for a visitor or new immigrant to Canada to make themselves understood. I speak only one language despite taking 5 years of high school French, fifty years ago. Needless to say, I’m not adept at learning new languages. Living in Canada, I can travel throughout North America and not run into a language barrier unless I travel to rural Quebec or come into contact with a Quebec nationalist who refuses to speak English. So there was no need for me to pick up any other languages. Having said that, language is the basis for human interaction and understanding.
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