Lost in translation

Since returning from Mexico, one thought has been weighing heavy on my mind. You see, I don’t speak spanish. Well, I can speak a little bit but I don’t understand much at all. Where I was, that wasn’t much of a problem. Most everyone I encountered spoke enough English that I was able to get what I needed. Furthermore, I was surrounded by tourists and expats, most of whom were native English speakers. Still, not being able to effectively communicate in the language of the country I was in left me feeling lost.

The thought that has been on my mind however is that this is how I feel most of the time. Even though I speak English fluently, as do most of the people I regularly engage with in conversation, I feel like we are speaking different languages. My words, my experiences, my perceptions, when communicated to another person take on different meanings depending on the other person’s understanding of the words or their own experiences and perceptions. I work really hard at effective communication but it still seems to me that I fail as often as I succeed. Well… it may be more accurate to say that we fail since communication is a two-way street.

I think we all want to be understood and I think we all are frustrated with how often that doesn’t happen. I think we settle for being heard. Too often, we don’t listen, we don’t open ourselves up for feedback and we don’t try to understand. We just put our words out there and expect that to be good enough. If we don’t get what we want we can blame the other person for not listening. If they interpret our words in a way that we don’t like, we feel judged or attacked. We react defensively rather than in a manner that might enhance actual communication.

I’m all too aware of this problem. When I’m sober I spend much of my time terrified of being misunderstood. For some reason, that really matters to me. I struggle with every word and often find it really difficult to say anything. This post seems to be taking me forever and it’s not because I don’t have the thoughts in my head. I’m just having a hard time finding the right words. Of course when I’m drunk it’s almost impossible to get me to shut up. Drunk communication has it’s own set of pitfalls however.

Sometimes I wish I could say whatever was on my mind no matter what. I wish I didn’t fear being misunderstood or judged. At the very least, I wish I didn’t care so much. But perhaps that’s not all a bad thing. I’m just trying to find the balance.

 

No bad days

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. In part that has been for lack of time but mostly it has been lack of desire. I just haven’t felt like writing and I kind of do what I want to do. It’s not like I have a lot of wants and I’ve actually been working on reducing the ones I have. That said, I can’t think of anything that I would rather be doing right now.

You see, for the past four days I have been is Los Cabos, Mexico. While back home in Minneapolis, MN people are getting pelted with a snow storm, I’m basking in the sun of 80 degree days. As I’m writing this it’s nighttime but I’m sitting quite comfortably in shorts by the pool drinking cerveza. I don’t need anything more than this.

Obviously, I did bring my laptop to Mexico but I probably won’t be posting much. I don’t know if it was subconscious or completely by accident but I forgot to pack the power cord for my computer so I only have six hours of battery life. To be honest, that’s about all the time I want to spend online.

My reason for being here is not a much needed vacation. I really don’t need vacations. I’m here to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday which was today. He and my mother have been coming down here every winter for the past decade or so and this year they wanted to have the whole family with them to celebrate.

There is no way that I could afford to do what they do every winter but this is the life. My whole time here I have been trying to figure out how I could make this my part time home. It’s not the hotel or the swimming pool or the fancy dinners that interest me. It’s just the sun, the warmth and the people. I’m actually finding being a tourist and having everything taken care of for me a bit unsettling. I really want to be working here.

I’m going to enjoy this time off and I hope that I return to the States rejuvenated and ready to get to work on my dream of never spending another winter in Minnesota.

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