Saturday, August 20, 2016

One Approach to the Language Barrier

I came across this meme today:

It reminded me of one tiny incident that I witnessed recurring a couple of times during the pilgrimage.

The scene: large gatherings with someone presenting in a language other than English. People were applauding what was being said.

I saw: some of our younger pilgrims who had no clue whatsoever what was being said agreeing among themselves to clap loudly and with great enthusiasm when others did, sometimes more loudly than others.

Sure, they were being kind of silly. After a while it was a tad annoying. But through that, I saw something else. One of these pilgrims had expressed frustration with language early on, and that is something that easily cuts me to the soul, or it sure did after living in Japan. It was more tolerable this time, but it is difficult for me, having a language barrier between myself and other people.

These guys were being snarky and silly, but they weren't rolling over and playing dead and moaning in exaggerated seriousness, as is my tendency when faced with a barrier. They were making fun of the barrier, which is the first step to overcoming it.

So in between being a little embarrassed for them and a little annoyed by them, I was actually very proud of them.

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