If i could be given two things on this upcoming trip to Europe I would ask for
-unlimited funds (obviously)
-and the ability to speak the languages of the countries that I am visiting.
While there is nothing that I can do about the former, I am working towards the latter. I keep hearing the same thing from people, “You’ll be fine, everybody speaks English.” While I know this to be slightly true, I feel that is a very ignorant way to look at traveling to foreign places. The expectation that no matter where I go in Europe everybody will be able to communicate with me in my MY language is very self serving. Working in a restaurant I have come to realize that no, not everybody knows English, especially not with the ability to understand my million words a minute that I tend to throw at people. This is why I am trying to pick up on at least a few phrases for each of the places that I am visiting.
Growing up in a household with a multi-lingual mom I have become pretty good at picking up languages and pronunciation, even though I don’t technically speak another language. My mom was from Holland and had a lot of Dutch friends here in the States so I was constantly surrounded by the language. Why did I never learn it fluently? Don’t get me started. Fortunately for me, I can understand a good amount of the language and at least attempt to speak it while I am in Holland for the weekend.
Next on the trip will be Paris. I have been trying to learn some French by practicing daily on my iPhone app, Duolingo. If you haven’t heard of it and are interested in learning another language (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian are what they have to offer at the moment) I would highly suggest downloading it. Its completely free and was voted best app or something like that for last year. I have never taken a French class in my life and didn’t know anything beyond Merci and Oi, but I am hoping that with the help of this app I will at least be able to ask where the restrooms are.
Spain will be the next leg of the journey and my travel partner is currently learning Spanish through the Duolingo app as well. Growing up in San Diego we are almost expected to speak Spanish or at least understand key phrases since we are so close to Mexico. Unfortunately for us, this Spanish is a lot different than what is spoken in Barcelona but theres no harm in trying!
Last and not least, we will be going to beautiful Greece. Coincidentally enough, I work with a man who was born and raised in Athens, Greece and he is Greek to the core. He has been teaching me a few phrases in Greek and is very impressed at how fast I am able to pick them up, which is a confidence booster for me. My favorite thing to say is “koukla” (pronounced “kookla”) which means “doll.” Whenever I use it I feel like a Greek Kardashian.
There is no way that I will be fluent in any of these languages by May, but I feel that at least trying to familiarize myself with these countries cultures and dialects that I am being more respectful and a better traveler than simply expecting everybody to know English.
Only 55 more days!!
Slechts vijftig vijf dagen!
Sólo cincuenta cinco días más!!
Seulement cinquante cinq jours de plus !
Μόνο πενήντα πέντε ημέρες! (what….?)