Tag: Language Barrier

How convenient to have the world’s dominant language (I’m not counting number of speakers, I’m counting its everywhere-ness) be your first language. Seriously, it is a cruel joke to learn English. It is so impossible, it’s comical.

This is the stuff a teacher and his learning-to-teach-and-pondering-ELL wife sit around and marvel at on the couch at 9 p.m.

(Best read aloud with a mojito in hand, unless you’re ripe with pregnancy. Also fun to picture Donald Trump trying to read this list aloud. Except I know he isn’t a laughing matter so never mind.)

1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
2. The farm was used to produce produce.
3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10. I did not object to the object.
11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13. They were too close to the door to close it.
14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

I wish I could give credit here. No idea where it came from. A punny angel?

We spent almost a year getting our brains around the idea of living in a new place, building excitement, answering a million questions about our plans, and frankly, keeping too busy with last hurrahs to think much about anything especially grown up (um, should we have closed some credit cards?). And then once we got here, the hard bits hit fast. Despite meeting warm, generous new friends in our orientation process, I’ve been achy for home. I have wanted Chipotle more than ever, and when I ordered nachos last week they were light and fluffy. To make matters worse, the Mexican shelf at the expat grocery store does not boast Cholula; instead I could choose from three different flavors of Doritos cheese dip in a jar. You read that right.

I have had a few days where I felt a lot like I did after Duncan was born. Deliriously happy to be doing this amazing new THING but also terrified and trapped. Everything, especially getting from point A to point B, feels a little hard: getting a stroller collapsed and thrown into a taxi, counting my money to make sure I can pay the driver, explaining where I am going in English to someone who doesn’t speak English, buckling up my child in a non-pediatrician approved middle seat, arriving at the destination, doing the complicated errand I’ve come to do, and then doing it all in reverse. BAHHHH! There are tears. Sometimes in the middle of a steaming sidewalk.

photo 3

The good news is that last night we spent an hour in Dustin’s classroom, and as soon as we stepped inside, Duncan took off his Crocs. His toddler “home” instinct kicked in, and he knew right where to find the Arthur books and the tinker toys. His easy comfort gave me a lot of hope.

My friend Linet said something like, “Did you ever think?!?” on an island-y photo I posted this week, and it made me remember this move is like the biggest lottery ticket we could ever win. Except it’s less like the lottery and more like God reminding me that the world is frickin’ huge. Also, that every one of these Hong Kong locals is another unrepeatable miracle and beloved child — even the lady who cut me in line at Ikea and the cab driver who got lost and made me get out in the middle of nowhere, one hundred dollars poorer.

Here’s my avoid-depression-and-embrace-the-adventure PLAN: Next time I’m deserted by an angry cab driver or depressed about the Mexican food options, I’ll find my way to this window/paradise. It’s a pretty decent picture of hope.

view from the desk