The Language of Culture
Language is such a global power tool. As Gypsies traveling around the globe often alone it is so essential that we are able to move freely and communicate freely with anyone we encounter. The ability to communicate with anyone at any point has always been something I pride myself on. However, I’ve always relied on the fact that they know my language and can fully and coherently understand what I say.
Someone once asked me on a flight from NYC to Barcelona Spain where I was from. When I proceeded to tell them they then asked about my trip and final destination. I found this couple quite charming and after sharing brief conversations about our travel experiences we found common ground to explore. They were originally from the west, lived in Ghana for 4 years and were now about to enjoy their vacation and 50th wedding Anniversary in Spain.
How many languages do you speak they asked. In that instant I felt as if my master plan was flawed. When I answered only 1 they disappointedly answered oh, and proceeded to exit the flight. I then questioned myself feeling a bit jet lagged and a bit lost, why don’t I know more than 1 language!? I studied French for 4 years in HS dreaming of visiting Paris one day. As an adult I have visited France 4 times now and I still cannot speak the language.
French and Spanish requires much confidence in attempting to articulate and although I can read French and understand it if spoken to me slowly, I lack the confidence to speak it fluently. Each journey I am faced with new truths about culture, myself and the world and my place in it.
This Months trip back to Morocco one of my all time favorite places in the world. I realized that being here unlocks so many things for me personally that I instantly feel growth and enlightenment after each visit.
During this particular visit many locals asked if I were Moroccan because of my complexion but once I opened my mouth they realized that it was the farthest thing from the truth.
Speaking the language allows you to connect with culture on a deeper level in some cultures where the people do not long to be American or speak English. As my travels continue my mission deepens and my platform has been a bit challenged. I realize that the mastery of communication on any level begins and ends with respecting the culture enough to honor language and the art and uniqueness of foreign tongue.