Choking For Words

8 02 2012

There is a Chinese girl in my history class whom I have become friends with.  She has only lived here in the states for a few years and all things considered is quite fluent. Today we had to read aloud in class and when it got the person before her, it hit me: What would she do? Her accent is rather heavy and she is very soft-spoken.  She started to read and I cringed as the other students snickered. It was all I could do to not slam their cruel faces with my textbook. For a country that encourages immigration, we are so mean to the immigrants once they arrive.

In my recent endeavors to learn Spanish, I have realized how hard it is to learn a new language, particularly one as irregular as English.  I have a new-found respect for the bilingual.

To me it seems like choking

Air supply beneath that of mere survival

Knowing so well what you want to say

Only once translated, it’s all twisted

The words don’t properly form

A new language has turned you forlorn

You cannot fit in

When you can hardly talk

And at your oddly said words they balk

Going out of their way to make it harder

Not even realizing that you are smarter

Because they can’t hear over their own laughter

That’s what it looks like to me as I watch

Her face says she knows she can’t belong

When the language she does know is all wrong

 

 

Advertisements

Actions

Information

29 responses

9 02 2012
Maiya

At least she has a friend there..you. You have a special heart my friend to see what people don’t or refuse to see.

9 02 2012
catcherofstars

Thank you, my hope is to inspire others to think and see the world through humble eyes.
Andrea

9 02 2012
El Guapo

Seconding what Maiya said.
Did you show your friend the poem?

9 02 2012
catcherofstars

No I have not, I’m not sure if she would want me to feel that way about her, she is very independent.
Andrea

9 02 2012
Vampire Weather

So often we take for granted the advantage of our native language, but there are so many beautiful languages across the world which I cannot understand. I would love to learn more languages. I always want to talk to foreigners in their own language when I encounter them in public because it seems unfair to expect them to speak mine. You should show her this if you have not already. Great work!

9 02 2012
catcherofstars

I’m a little nervous to, but perhaps I will
Andrea

9 02 2012
kate58

I loved this – & I have to agree with what Vampire Weather said. I’m blessed to have friends from all over the world, and we teach each other our languages.

9 02 2012
catcherofstars

Awesome!! One of my cousins just married a lady form Venezuala so I am hoping that I can pick up more Spanish from her!
Andrea

9 02 2012
willowdot21

Good for you, you can help her. and that is a deeply thoughtful poem you have written. xx

9 02 2012
catcherofstars

Thank you, I hate to see people suffer at the hands of others
Andrea

9 02 2012
Sea

i love it how you can write a poem for any topic that you can think of! My words only start flowing when i’m deeply sad about something. 🙂 Ask your friend “Ni Hao Ma?” for me 🙂

9 02 2012
catcherofstars

What does that mean? I trust you, but still….:)
Andrea

11 02 2012
Sanah

You’ve a kind heart Andrea and it reflects in this poem.
I too think you should show her this. 🙂

12 02 2012
catcherofstars

I think I will then 🙂
Andrea

11 02 2012
Francina

Hi Andrea,
Very thoughtful poem showing your kind spirit. I feel for the girl you know because she probably has already a hard time enough to get used to a foreign country. If you grow up bilingual you have a big advantage over those who are not able to speak more than one language 😉 I speak out of my own experience 🙂

Ciao,
Francina

12 02 2012
catcherofstars

I envy you of that, it is so much easier to learn a language as a young child. I plan to move to Europe one day, either Spain or England, because I want my children to be raised with more contact to other cultures and languages.
Andrea

12 02 2012
Francina

Spain is much warmer than England 🙂

Francina xx

12 02 2012
catcherofstars

Really? Is it humid or more of a Mediterranean climate?
Andrea

13 02 2012
Francina

Spain has more a Mediterranean climate , what is nice in winter time… not too cold.

Francina

13 02 2012
catcherofstars

It’s set then! I will live there 😉 Thanks for the info 🙂
Andrea xx

16 02 2012
Ben Naga

Spain can be excessively hot in the summer. I know someone who got sun stroke while on holiday there and was hospitalised. Moderation in all things is advisable.

While reading this I kept seeing it also as a metaphor. It is often hard to explain your true thoughts and feelings to others, even in your native language, and sometimes you attract mockery rather than understanding.

17 02 2012
catcherofstars

Really? Here in Florida, it gets to about 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
I see your point, I hadn’t really thought of it that way, I should have though. I often have trouble finding words myself, believe it or not 😉
Andrea

18 02 2012
bardessdmdenton

Yes, I like the way this can be read literally in terms of being not understood because of a language barrier but also because of an understanding barrier which we see too much of in this country…this world.

I lived in England for 16 years, Andrea. Don’t go too far north if you don’t want the cold (though I love the people and landscapes of the north–Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, up to Scotland, and also west to Wales). I lived in Oxfordshire. The central and southern areas are pretty temperate, but rather wet. Hey, travel as much as you can first, and you will discover where you belong.

The English LOVE to go to Spain, by the way!

Good luck with learning Spanish and thank you for empathizing with your schoolmate…I’m sure she is appreciative.

18 02 2012
Ben Naga

And a shout for Cumbria here!!!

19 02 2012
catcherofstars

Is that where you live?
Andrea

19 02 2012
Ben Naga

You guessed it. The other parts of Britain are indeed wonderful, but how can you miss out Cumbria, which has, for starters, the Lake District? 😛

24 02 2012
catcherofstars

I will check it out once I travel!! England is first on my list of European countries to see.
Andrea

24 02 2012
Ben Naga

The Lake District is a “must see”. Let me know. We could meet for coffee of something, if you’d like. 🙂

19 02 2012
catcherofstars

I think I would like to live everywhere. A house at Mexico Beach, a hut in the mountains, a cottage in England, a villa in Spain, etc.
I guess I should start saving…..
Andrea

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: