Just over a year ago we started a new family adventure in Canada. We have had many new experiences in this great country, however, I must emphasize that my experience with a second language deserves a separate post.
Those who know me know that I have a rather “normal” level of English. 1/3 of my job is to talk to business people and explain technology concepts, so many assume that I have a very good English level. So maybe in that context my level may be good, and it is normal, as it is the work I have been doing in the last 7 or 8 years. I have been fortunate enough to travel all over Europe, and always in the common language: English.
However, there are times when speaking in English, where I must force a smile to not show the frustration I have inside. I hope I can explain it in a nutshell: Everyday conversations are the ones that require the most effort, mostly because of the lack of vocabulary. I also must admit that my mind is much faster than my vocal capabilities (in any language). The best thing to do is to share an example.
Those who know me know I like to run. I am not a great athlete with spectacular times, for me running is a hobby that allows me to listen to music, learn something new with a pod cast, or disconnect from my day to day. Thanks to all these trips, I have been fortunate to add kilometers (now miles) in many cities and it is an excellent way to get to know unfamiliar places. Training in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and other places have left me many interesting anecdotes to tell.
At my 40s I’ve been fortunate to have no severe injury. I know that many runners suffer from knee problems or similar injuries, in my case I have never spent anything running or related to running. However, in September last year, down the stairs in our house, I twisted my knee. The dumbest move you could think of, made a pain stitch all over my body. To this day, this pain only occurs when I turn the knee, but if I run on flat surfaces at a steady pace, I go like a wandering gazelle.
Well, after my girl filled my head with screams and suggestions, I decided to go to a physiotherapist, and this is the point I wanted to get to. The conversation with Tony (my physio) was one of the hardest things in 2017. The fact of not knowing words like tendon, tear, ligament, etc.; It made everything a lot more complicated. Fortunately, Tony is a very friendly person and in addition to explain to me that “it was only a tear“, took enough time to teach me the words “I was missing“. We even laughed when my “ankle” sounded “uncle“, I was telling him that my “uncle was perfect” instead of my “ankle was perfect“.
Note: The devil is in the details and pronunciation in English is very important. Latinos tend to give little importance to this, and in the English language I have learned that it is fundamental.
And that’s it, up to today, I have one or more of these experiences each day. Recently we bought a house, and of course at the time of having to learn the name of all the internal elements of it, I realized that I dominate a bit the area of the kitchen, but I still have an 80% of things to learn. When it comes time to get full insurance for the house, is to have to read everything in detail to understand and understand the small letter of the contract. According to my calculations, these everyday issues consume twice as much time as normal. If you have not lived it, I can assure you that it is also an “interesting” mental challenge.
And I need to be honest, I do not take it as a problem, for me it’s rather a challenge. Getting out of my comfort zone is something I’ve become accustomed to and something I like. I see how my children have adapted in a matter of months and I see a chance to learn next to them. Things as simple as thinking about “big” numbers require extra effort, the same spelling and other tasks. It’s an interesting challenge.
Fortunately, it is not a problem, a year later we are more comfortable with the Canada culture and it is a pleasure to see as small achievements are worth double or triple for me than for a normal person. For example, having a beer with friends and commenting on some funny anecdotes, it is now much easier and more fun than it was 12 months ago.
According to my girl I should review my sources to keep learning: movies like Lego Batman the movie and series like The IT Crowd. In my opinion, I guess that’s enough to improve the level and keep learning 😀
Greetings @ Toronto
PD: Bonus NSFW animation