The Faces of Living in Another Language

Just before moving to Chile, I wrote a post about the faces of moving abroad.

Now, it’s been a year of living in Chile so I thought I would try another one. Despite the fact that lots of my life is in English here: I teach in English, I speak to Carlos in English, I have friends who I speak to in English.  There are still lots of parts of my life that are in Spanish: Talking to parents at school, meetings, Carlos’ family, day-to-day interactions and some friends too.  So, I thought I would write about the faces of living in another language.

The one where you feel like learning a language is the longest bridge you’ll ever cross, and you definitely aren’t at the end yet!dsc06927The one where you feel on top of the world because yes, you can converse in Spanish!dsc07515The one where if you sit still enough, hopefully nobody will notice that you haven’t said anything for a while because your brain is just too tired!dsc05088The one where you over think every word you say and tip toe around the conversation, because you really aren’t sure how to explain something.DSC06392The one where people tell you your Spanish is good.DSC05982 The one where you just keep smiling, even though you don’t fully understand.DSC05457The one where you comment on the food because at least you can always talk about that! DSC03414The one where you suddenly use phrases that you’ve heard and everyone understands what you are saying.DSC_0077The one where you offer to do the washing up so you can think in English for a little bit.DSC_0549The one where you just decide it’s better to stay silent.DSC03163The one where you google translate words before going to the doctors and hope for the best!DSC_1156Cheers to life in another language.DSC02533

Which of these can you relate to?  Which faces of yours have I missed?

Marcella xx

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18 thoughts on “The Faces of Living in Another Language

  1. This is such a cute post! I took Spanish for several years in middle and high school and college, but I’m still terrible at it. I’d love to do an immersion program to learn it once and for all (even if I would have to sneak away to do laundry in order to have some English thinking time!). 😀

  2. HAHA! Oh I love this post so much! You’re so creative. And yessss. I can definitely relate to the one where you just smile and nod and hope that’s an appropriate response to whatever someone just said. I do that sometimes even if it’s English (but with an accent)!! And if the person makes a follow-up statement, then I have to go back and ask them to repeat the original one and admit that I didn’t understand haha.

  3. Ha ha – love this post! It reminds me of the time I went to a doctor in El Salvador with a large dictionary… I still have no idea what I was treated for, if anything at all. Bet your Spanish is great living and learning in Chile 🙂

  4. Brilliant! I’ve never lived in another language but now I feel a bit like I have! I can definitely identify with talking about food because that’s always the easiest (I think I have ‘restaurant grade’ skills in some languages like French, German, Spanish – I might fool you over a meal but take me outside and you’ll realise I can’t understand anything else) and sometimes I have to google things before going to the doctor even in English..!

  5. I didn’t know a word of Spanish when I went to live in Ecuador. After two weeks I started having dreams in Spanish. Every week my Spanish improved because I put in as much effort as I could (a lot!) and I was rewarding. So I know what it’s like to be immersed in a country where English isn’t spoken at all. Thanks for sharing your interesting post!

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