The treasure map

Last night my mum reminded me that 12 years have already passed since my graduation day (yes, I’m an old woman). Although I studied (and enjoyed) English and German language and literature (and some French), I don’t think at the time I realised how wonderful it is to learn languages, and what a huge power it gives you.

For many years after my graduation, English became, in a way, my “second mother tongue”, but I totally forgot the others that I had been lazily learning.

Since I started travelling, my English has definitely become less natural and has lost part of its elegance, but I have discovered the much bigger treasure and beauty that lies in learning to understand, and maybe speak and write, more and more languages.

I started learning Spanish one year and a half ago and this wonderful language has quickly become an important part of my life. I can’t believe how many doors the Spanish language has opened for me since then. And I’m sure it’s just the beginning

And even though my Chinese is still really basic and I am the laziest student, the best thing that the past five months of learning this language have brought to me is a wonderful language exchange partner whom I can call a friend.
Yesterday she showed me that she posted on WeChat (China’s largest messaging and social media app) the photos of our adventures and the story – in Chinese, of course – of how I got here. She got a huge amount of reactions to what she posted! It is for stuff like this that it now makes sense for me to learn this language now, so I can read and understand what she wrote and the many comments she got.

The past eight months in this relatively small, but incredibly international German city have been my best language learning experience so far, with regular language exchange events as the backbone of our social life and an incredible variety of people from around the world to hang out with.
English may be the easiest way for us all to communicate with each other, but I had no idea how wonderful it is to be able to communicate with different people in different languages and have a chance to choose the language that makes us more comfortable depending on the circumstances. My English may not be so good as it used to be now that there are other languages in my life as well, but I am much richer now

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