Thursday, April 12, 2012

There's hope for us yet...

     Being in a foreign country is hard at times, sometimes more often than not. There are language barriers, different cultural expectations, different rules and sometimes what you think is common sense, is not. I have harped many times about driving over here and about the 'commen sense' mistakes we feel the French make all the time and I am sure they look at us the same. Although, I don't know where it is ever 'common sense' to cut people off and block entire intersections....but I can't go there anymore, my head will explode. But I am sure if you asked the average person who visits or lives in a foreign country what the hardest thing to adjust to is, they would say hands down, the language barrier. Now, we have done pretty well with the language barrier over the years here. Shaun speaks French on a daily basis at practice so he is constantly fine tuning his French (although I am pretty sure what he hears and speaks at practices is not 'proper' nor P.C.). I read and write more so those are the areas that I am 'good' at. Put us together and we're a pretty good team. Often times, we talk with people in French and walk away and then talk it over with each other to make sure we are on the same page as to what was said. Needless to say it's difficult and a bit tiresome. You are constantly trying to gather your thoughts in your head, then switch them to French and then finally make sure you have the correct conjugation. And by the time all that is done and I am ready to spit out what I want to say, the conversation has moved on. Or in extremely slow cases, we are already in our car on the way home and I think to myself,  'Damn, that is what I wanted to say'. So when I saw a few articles circulating about the 'bilingual brain' recently in blogs and this article in the New York Times, I had to take a closer look. Apparently scientists have found that being bilingual, and speaking both languages on a semi-daily basis, benefits the brain in many ways, including holding off Alzheimers for 5-6 years. By having both languages 'active' in your brain, the brain is constantly problem solving and multi-tasking all the while you are observing and concentrating at a high level. Now it's all making sense to me. There are times when I think I can see smoke coming from Shaun's ears and this pretty much confirms it for me. With all that going on in his dome, I am just thankful it hasn't blown right off his neck. So while we still are going to have those times where we are struggling to get exactly what we want to say understood, at least we can take solace in the fact that all this frustration is helping us in the long run. So I guess my 25 minute 'heated conversation' with someone in the management yesterday might have gotten me another 3 months in warding off Alzheimers, I'll take that any day. Who knows, I might even go back for more, after all, it's for my health.

1 comment:

  1. hahaha...Go back!!

    This is a pretty great post. My french (if you can even call it that) is terrible, I understand more than I can speak...its sooo hard though.
    I feel sometimes like its a vicious cycle, when someone hears me speaking a few words in french, they assume I can speak well, so they speak to me normally, (fast) but when they hear me speaking english, they dont want to speak to me at all...i'm screwed!
    Anyway, with all these problems, its nice to know that all the confusion is good for something! :)

    I'll need to check out some of the articles you're talking about. Always makes me excited when I think about my little girl being bilingual...and the benefits long term on her life.