Monday, March 24, 2014

Language Barrier

How do you communicate when facing a language barrier?

After a five hour bus ride and half of a day flying, I finally arrived in Maceió to visit my friend, Wesley. One of the first things he told me was that his mom wasn’t sure how we were going to communicate.

When we walked in the door, a lot of laughing ensued. Every sentence was followed by gestures of some sort. And, every time I was confused I looked at Wesley and everyone started laughing. Later, I met some other family members. Let’s just say meeting his family included a lot of head nodding, laughing, translating, gestures, and repetition.

Nevertheless, his brother and I found a way to communicate. Starting with shushing him, because he was being very loud (as in not speaking a word), we began a game trying to make the other person laugh or say something. We made faces at each other and then started having conversations in gestures. There were so many times we both wanted to burst out laughing. The ending score was 4-3. I won. I now know he loves everything on his hot dog. Additionally, his parent’s think we are crazy.

The first two days here were eventful. We were in the car a lot, and, apparently, I fall asleep every time. Now there is a running joke about me sleeping in the car. In addition, we ate tapioca (by the way, tapioca is not a pudding here. It is like a sandwich), watched the clear crabs run across the downtown area beach, and continued to meet more and more of his family (his grandma is hilarious). And, the next day everyone, including some of his extended family, headed to a house with a pool near some beach somewhere. We went to the beach, Wesley, his brother and I had freestyle swimming contests, and hung out in the ocean and pool all day.

Barra de São Miguel

As we were packing up for the day, Wesley’s mom asked if I thought the whole family was crazy. Honestly, everyone here is funny and super sweet. They might be a little crazy, but who isn’t? Haha.

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