The Importance of Communication

Another important lessson I´ve learned this summer is the necessity of communication in our lives. You don´t realize how much we rely and take for granted the ability to communicate.

Being placed in a country where you don´t speak the language is very challenging. In the beginning its stressful and frustrating because you can´t just say what you want or convey anything. I walked around for the first month always carrying my Spanish dictionary, phrase book and notebook from my Spanish class. It was often when all I wanted was to say the simplest things and couldn´t that I would lose it. It´s overwhelming to constantly hear the language but to me its saddening when I can´t say anything. As time progresses, you begin to learn, remember and use more of the language everyday until 3 months comes and ¨tu puedes hablar bastante español¨. But up to that point, and even still I rely on using my hands, sherades and looking for other ways to explain a word if I don´t know it in Spanish (using only the Spanish vocab I know). And if the Spanish culture didn´t gesticulate as much as it does, my comprehension of stories and conversations would be much worse.

Back home in Canada we have multiple methods of communication. TV, email, phones at home, cellphones with messaging and texting, newspapers, faxes, sign language, brail, mail and of course person to person. Here is so different. Mail is used and most people in the city have phones (home or cell). But for those living in communities outside the city, such as Miraflor, who generally don´t have electricity or phone lines, its much different. A lady I know was trying to get in touch with a guy in Miraflor. The only way to do that was to write a note, give it to the bus driver of the bus going to Miraflor that day (with a cash payment of course) and hope it gets there and to the right person. Its almost like stepping back in time when people used messengers on horses to send messages long distance. Her meeting never happened because its so unreliable. But its all there is, besides travelling the 2 hour ride to get there. I´ve been very lucky being placed somewhere where I do have easy access to phone, internet and electricity. It´s been here that I realized how much we take it for granted the availability of communication back home. One of my new housemates said he brought his laptop thinking wireless be would available. The idea that we can always be connected is engrained into our culture.

Having developed my skills of sherades and gesticulating this summer (I am now ready for the ultimate test - the Italian culture) I certainly can´t wait to go back to Canada where everyone understands me. So that if I lose my luggage for instance, at least the airport will be able to comprehend me and what I tell them (like where I live and what I´m looking for) instead of trying to interpret tears and the few descriptive words in Spanish I know like blue and big. (FYI: azul and grande)



Post a Comment