11 Absolutely Humbling Things That Will Happen to You When You Live In Another Language

As I’m reminded daily – both literally and through everyday happenings – I’m not in Canada anymore, and absolutely no one knows what I mean by “ain’t no body got time for that”.*

1. You will come to appreciate anything that’s in English. 

This shampoo comes with an English description?? I can now be absolutely sure it was meant for my hair!

2. You will become unreasonably paranoid of anything that’s in English.

I am convinced this corner store in Catania, called “Animal Planet,” is definitely some sort of tourist trap. It doesn’t even sell any animals.

3. You will come to GREATLY appreciate everyday things that were so easy in your home tongue.

Like going to the store, making sarcastic jokes, having a conversation about basic weather patterns …

4. You’ll start to reduce your own English-speaking abilities so you don’t sound like such an alien.

Saying things like: “Wait me here,” or “To me is no difference,” with an Italian accent is pretty much like speaking in Italian – right?

5. But you also improve your English by eliminating all those confusing slang and American idioms.

Common sayings that make no sense to non-English Europeans:

“It’s really something else” (when something is so awesome you just cant describe it)

“It’s all good”

“Make sense?”

“Do you need to fill up?” (as in fill the tank of gas in a car)

“How do you like ______?” (this sentence structure is very confusing and is usually answered with a simple “yes”)

“Get’er done”

“Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday.” (don’t bother trying to make this joke, it’s not worth the explanation)

“AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT” (also do not make this joke)

6. You will have the strangest conversations with people.

Everyone wants to learn English, but you’re dying to learn said language. So you always somehow end up having this awkward, Inglo-Italian conversation where someone speaks in English and you respond in Italian …

7. You consider an extraordinary cross-cultural accomplishment is when you make a joke and people actually laugh because they understand it, not because they have no idea what you’re saying.

This is a rare occurrence that is usually followed by a round of prosecco.

8. Conversations that seem to be equally understood by both parties is also a reason to celebrate.

9. People say things to you like: “Aww, I love your accent!”

I never, ever, ever thought anyone would ever say this to me.

10. You learn how to swallow your own pride in favour of learning said language.

You decide you’d rather sound like a drunken caveman in Italian than an ignorant americano, and even put up with all the locals constantly making fun of you.

I just ask them to say things like “Thursday” and “lizard” and laugh quietly to myself. HAH. SEE? LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE IS HARD.

11. When you finally say something in said foreign language that people actually understand, it feels like you simultaneously cracked the da Vinci code and peed in the toilet for the first time.


*Cultural note: This saying is even more irrelevant in Italy because, errbody’s got time for that. There is no concern of being late or waiting 40 minutes for your beer. It’s all good.

**Not real Italian pernounciation or a real


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