Over the past two weeks (which sometimes feels like months) I’ve, for the first time in my life, truly been living in a foreign language. Everyday, I have had a long, detailed conversation in French, everyday, I’ve learned a new word of slang, and everyday, my head has ached from spending hours concentrating as my French friends fired back and forth in rapid, colloquial speak.
For the first time, I began to understand how many of my friends in the US, those who are from other countries, feel living and learning English in the US.
- Accent – for the first time, I became aware of my accent when I speak French. I could hear it, and it sounded…bad.
- Mental Exhaustion – listening to people speak in a foreign language takes effort, it takes time. By the end of the night, I felt woozy, like I’d just taken the GMAT’s, mentally exhausted.
- Perpetual Concentration – I was having dinner with a friend, speaking in French. If I stopped concentrating on her for a single second, I’d miss what she was saying. Keeping this concentration for an entire evening – quite the mental exercise.
- 99% Ain’t Good Enough – if that one word you didn’t get is the most important one.
My FOB friends – I know have a newfound sympathy for you. However, that still won’t stop me from using lots of slang around you.