Friday, March 13, 2009

A Moment of Acceptance.

So I'm walking to the little market for some groceries, around 5 PM, and the streets are full of honking cars and exhaust, the sidewalks full of manual laborers, making their way home after a long day, and the strip mall cafes full of diners.

And most of you know how frustrated I am by the language barrier... I don't know who these people are who just "pick up a language" but they're not me.

Nikola pointed out that oftentimes really social people, who rely on their intelligence and verbal wit to relate to others, have the hardest time with language-based culture shock, because they have nothing to fall back on. No way to engage people around them, and their whole skill set - that's always worked - is useless in every way.


Anyhow, today is a lighter note. Today I was walking midst the blaring music, the shouting drivers, the conversing cafe patrons, and I thought of pregnant women.

Not what you thought I'd say, eh?

Well, I have enough experience around pregnant women to know that towards the end of the pregnancy, when they just start being over it, they feel like it will go on forever. They'll be pregnant the rest of their lives. The unwieldy body, the discomfort, the lack of sleeping... it feels, 100%, like a permanent state.

So I felt like that today... I will never again be able to chat with a store clerk (as you know I love to do) or laugh while eavesdropping. This state of isolation is (or feels) permanent. But the weird part was that I felt fine about it. I thought, oh well, who needs language? I have a few people I can talk to, and I get by on smiles and gestures and the most basic of phrases, and that's OK. It's like monks who choose to be silent. There can be a grace in it, in the permanence of being Other.

But thank god it isn't. Like the babies who finally come, I realize that Saturday marks the halfway point of this journey, it will end, and before it does, I must - I must!! - learn the difference between the verbs poner and poder.


  1. Ha ha...I'm trying not to cheat and look that up. Poner was to ponder/dream (maybe?) and poder, to put (Yes??).

  2. Poder- to can, be able to. Just remember the first conjugation of puedo. No puedo ir!

    Poner- to get, to set, to put. Conjugation of this one is a serious bitch. Or this:

  3. I had that feeling of acceptance when in Praha.I had always felt so fat around all the skinny Czech women, then one day on the bus I was looking at a row of beautiful thin women and I suddenly thought, I could crush you all with one swing of my viking arm. And suddenly, I felt great. I getcha sister.