Have I mentioned to you that I’m pretty good at learning languages? Not incredible, just above-average.
It serves me well when I’m traveling, it helped me communicate 90% in Spanish for 3 months in Peru, opened many doors to new and better friendships with people. Six weeks into my first stay in Chile, my European friends took me along to barter and translate for them – because somehow I’d perfected communication in those 3 fortnights of semi-immersion. In Bangkok, my Thai vocabulary was infantile at best – but the Thai I knew? I knew well. Very well. My accent was clear, my grammar was somewhat sensible, I used the appropriate jumble at the appropriate times. I was safe.
And then I came home.
I overhear conversations in Spanish all day long, so I’ve been eavesdropping through many boring moments.
The issue at the moment is that my brain still thinks in Thai. Which is utterly insane. I never thought in Thai when I lived in Bangkok!! Ludicrous is what it is. Sure, I could argue over a taxi fare at 3 in the morning, but I had that conversation memorized. Thinking in Thai. Nope.
Except for the other day, when I started to talk in Spanish and the sentence went like this, “Chai, dai hablo espanol. Kah-tod-kah, mai mee vacabulario big. Oi! Chan muy confusado.”
Translation: Yes, I can [thai] speak Spanish [spanish]. Excuse me, I don’t have [thai] a big [english] vocabulary [spanish]. Oh, my [thai]! I am [thai] very confused [bad spanish].
That’s basically how my mind works these days. Utter chaos. A mishmash of cultures, none of which claim me, none of which I’m embracing.
I’ve always told people I didn’t agree with the approach of getting over a relationship by starting a new one, but after these past three months – I’ve changed my mind. The only way I’m going to finish the grieving process of Losing my Bangkok, my Newsong Family, of giving up a place where I’d found a Purpose and a Use – is to rediscover a Love, a Community, a Direction, A Passion for life.
Since I’m not at all convinced I’ll be in Indiana even until Christmas (yes, THAT’S another long story) and American culture requires a certain amount of longevity to create a place, this isn’t going very smoothly (Not that I’ve allowed many circles the opportunity to envelop me in Indianapolis) Then again, Latino culture expects constant contact to maintain relationships (I’ve failed, but have friendships still), Thai culture requires more respect than I often knew how to offer (and I was loved), and American culture expects a certain amount of consumerism if you hold a college degree (and my parents raised 7 children on one income). I’ve bucked the norms before, I just have to recommit to ignoring the the status quo and loving the now. I’m doing it, He’s helping, I’m opening again, it’s happening. Just don’t expect any amount of grace or elegance in this stumbling Salsa I’m tripping through.