Friday, June 18, 2010

Dreaming in a foreign language

one of my best friends from high school moved to our rural town the middle of freshman year, and she spoke almost no english. her father's company moved her family from puerto rico to the middle-of-nowhere, tn, and she stuck out like a proverbial sore thumb. my sister and i couldn't imagine anything more exciting and exotic (except maybe to be an international exchange student) so we introduced ourselves--with lots of gestures and lots of giggles, and the three of us formed a tight unit.

beth and i probably pestered poor gilia to death asking her to say such inane things as lizard, 'you killed my brother you dirty rat.' and best friend. we, in turn, offered {too} much english assistance, and by the end of the year, sleepovers were as common to us as being living dictionaries.

i knew upon entering college that i'd continue my spanish, and i became quite good; i even had a trace of gilia's accent that amused my profesoras.

but i've never had a dream in spanish.

after freshman year of college i went on my very first short-term mission trip to romania. while i was there, i found it puzzling that i constantly had this expectation that signs and words would jump out at me and make themselves known. it didn't matter that the words still looked like gibberish, i just kept thinking if i stared hard enough or passed them often enough, that they'd make sense to my english brain.

this morning i met with my counselor, and we discussed reconciliation-specifically with my mom-and what that might look like in a safe way. she said she wanted me to have peace to be able to talk to my mom, or contentment in being emotionally safe and strong. i mused that the mere idea of "peace" seemed like living in a foreign country, and being surrounded by strange sounds, unfamiliar sights, and constantly being amazed. she agreed the analogy was a good one, but also gently reminded that if one lives in a place long enough, acculturation and language acquisition happen naturally. she went on to suggest that one can even begin to dream in the foreign tongue, so inherent does it become.

i want to dream in peace, don't you?

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