...Add unexpected situations to the list of reasons I dislike language barriers.
"Nos ha dejado una persona muy querida, siento mucho la perdida de __(name)__ y les mando un fuerte abrazo y los acompaño en estos momentos tan tristes y dolorosos."The quote above is something I had the misfortune of writing in a letter to someone. We never know quite how fate play out in our lives until we're living it. I hadn't expected needing to write words of condolence in a foreign language. Not so soon. Earlier this month I began studying Spanish. (I will explain why in another post). At this point in my studies, I only know a few of the words in that quote above. I asked a friend to tell me what to write. She gave me those words (along with a translation), and I feel relieved that I am able to say words of peace to someone in the language they feel most comfortable with.
There were times in Korea where I wanted to express my heart-felt beliefs, or at least be as poetic in Korean as I could choose to be in English. The first instance was hearing that a colleague would be leaving the workplace for good. I really only had the time span of a school dinner to pull someone over to us and ask them to help me say goodbye. In the last weeks of my stay in Korea, I had more time to prepare farewells. I had 11 months of language experience to know (or guess) what I wanted to say. I had close friends to help me write things down and correct my mistakes. I also focused on writing positive things rather than sad things.
So I can honestly say that I feel blessed to have made a few close friends in the last year who know enough Spanish to help me get my feelings across. After hearing that a close friend of mine passed away, I definitely wanted to pay my respects to her parents. Even though feelings can get across just fine without words, words are usually the icing on the cake. They are proof of what's being assumed. I wonder how many people find themselves in such situations: wanting to express condolences to someone who might not understand everything they wish to say. Many people would probably just pick a single word in either language and pack it with as much emotion as they could. Saying something is better than saying nothing, yeah?