At the moment, we’re sitting in the airport waiting to board our plane home. So, I thought I would share with you just a little bit of what we experienced on our trip.
Joy at Hearing Their Native Tongue
One of the things we both enjoyed most was interacting with the Mexican workers there, getting to know them, and speaking in their language. There is no greater joy than to watch the worker’s faces as we started speaking in their native tongue, no matter how slow or awkward we might be. It was our feeble attempt. We had truly made their day!
David has been using many of the Spanish learning tools he writes about on our site, and I have recently started using the app on my phone, Duolingo. This trip totally encouraged and energized me to learn more so that the next time we return to the Yucatan area, or some other place in Mexico, or anywhere Spanish-speakers are present, we’ll be ready!!
The Language Barrier
Have you ever traveled out of the country and wished that you could communicate with the locals? Maybe you’ve taken an excursion while on vacation into nearby town and wished to have been able to navigate a bit better and find your destination a little quicker.
Maybe you’ve had an experience where you have been taken advantage of. Sometimes Americans can be targets for inappropriate schemes. If we cannot understand what is being said and/or offered, we may make the wrong choice. While my husband and I have been fortunate in this regard, we are aware of times when the language barrier will get the way.
For example, if you are not comfortable with Spanish, you may find yourself …
- asking for a cola (Spanish for “queue” or “end”) expecting a soft drink, but instead being directed to the end of a line
- ignoring an advertencia (Spanish for “warning”), thinking it was just another advertisement (anuncio in Spanish)
- asking directions for el campo (Spanish for “field”), and being surprised to find no tents in sight; or
- asking for el barro (spanish for “mud”) when you wanted a bar.
Fortunately, in Mexico — especially the tourist areas — most people will know enough English not to lead you too far astray.
How much better your vacation experience would be if you had taken the time to learn the language! Even just learning a few key phrases from a phrase book can make a significant difference.
Enjoying the Language & Culture
As English speakers, we are often spoiled by how many places we can go in this world and be able to communicate with others. But think how much more enjoyable a visit to another country could be if you could speak the language and enjoy hearing “in person” what you have been reading in a textbook or hearing on a video or audio recording. Not only will you be speaking the language, you will be immersed in the culture and surrounded by the beauty of another land. Whether it be Mexico, France, the Holy Land, China, South America or Japan, all very popular places to visit, having a feel for the native language spoken in the destination of your choice will not only enhance your vacation experience but put a smile on the faces of those you encounter. I say smile, not smirk, because – in most cases — there will be a sincere appreciation for you and your efforts.
If you have experiences travelling abroad and attempting to communicate, please share them below. I’d really like to hear your experience, and I always respond.