Language Barriers


I wrote this blog over a week or so ago when I was in one of those moods. The one where I’m sad about everything and nothing. I can’t seem to pinpoint what exactly I’m upset about or if it’s even real emotion. Maybe my hormones are just fluctuating or the twilight is getting to me or I’m eating foods that don’t agree with me or my sleep isn’t as quality as it usually is or maybe a combination of everything.

But as I read over this, I found that it still holds true. I wrote the words below on particularly depressed and lonesome evening while I was visiting family in Murska Sobota.

While I wouldn’t say my feelings as of now are full on homesickness, there is definitely the tiniest sprinkle of it in there. I guess it’s the communication I miss. I might be surrounded by family, but our worlds are different. I can’t have any real or in-depth conversations with most family members. Maybe I’m feeling that same feeling I’ve had many times before. The one that is created by a language barrier. No one knows my language well enough and I hardly know theirs. Sometimes the wall between my family and I feels so thick. This wall may have a small window, but no door.

I sit at tables surrounded by people I’m related to but feel like an outsider among them. I feel lonely not because I’m alone, but because my communication with others is limited to basic phrases, broken sentences, and facial expressions. My mom always tells me not to be shy because they are family and I try to remind myself of this, but it will never be easy with the personality I have. My heart and mind are at all times grateful to be in Slovenia. I’m grateful people are willing to take me places and spend time with me. I’m grateful to be with people I usually don’t get to see, but when with them I’m reminded of those lingering bitter feelings I have about not being a native speaker. I can’t seem to shake them off. A small part of me will always carry that “what if,” replaying scenes in my head of the hypothetical.

While I am trying to learn Slovene, I’ve been more discouraged about it lately. There are times when I’m crippled with fear and others where I simply don’t know enough. Other times I just feel like a complete failure. Why do I have so much confidence in some areas but none in others?

Sometimes I wonder if I’m just moping. Are my feelings justified? Am I just being melodramatic? Is it wrong for me to feel this way? Should I brush off these feelings? Should I just ignore them and pretend they don’t exist? After all, I have this wonderful opportunity and am getting to live in Slovenia! It’s not like I’m completely isolated, some of my cousins speak really good English. Am I just being melodramatic?

When I was a younger teenager, being with my dad’s side of the family was something that made me anxious at times because I was afraid of awkwardness. I’m one of the youngest cousins and often didn’t know who to talk to or hang around at family gatherings. I was afraid of not knowing where to sit at lunches and dinners, not having anything to talk about with relatives, or not having anyone to talk to period. I didn’t want to cling to my parents at the age of 16, so sometimes I would just float around awkwardly, waiting for someone to start a conversation. When I’m with a large group of family members here, I also float around awkwardly and wait for someone to start a conversation. I’m not one to initiate conversations unless I’m quite comfortable with someone (so thanks to those who have reached out). But wow! How easy being with my father’s side of the family would be now that I’ve been here for some time. At least with family in Illinois, there are no language barriers.

I still enjoy being with family here. It’s nice to spend time with people I grew up only seeing once every few years. When examining the way I feel about interactions with both sides of my family, I’ve noticed that I care an awful lot about how I’m perceived. I’m so sure that everyone thinks I’m the most awkward human alive as well as pathetically shy. I’m eighteen, they probably think I’m much too old to act this way. I wish I could stop caring so much what other people think. I wish shyness was a quality I didn’t have. I wish it were as simple as “just let go,” but it’s not and will never be. At times it feels like a disease.

Even still, the good trumps the bad. Every night bedtime comes. And with bedtime comes quiet time, and quiet time brings peace. I look forward to this time more than ever. I read my bible and pray and write in my journal and listen to worship music and maybe sing along. I can relax. I feel at ease and at home when spending time with the Creator.

What I ultimately look forward to is being in heaven. I look forward to never again feeling sad or disconnected or lonely or angry or incompetent. I look forward to when fear is a thing of the past. When language barriers no longer exist and I will be with my Savior, Jesus Christ, for all eternity.



2 thoughts on “Language Barriers”

  1. Oh Megan, you’ve made me cry. I was feeling so sorry for you although I know how much you want to be there. I love Slovenia! But honey when you wrote the last two paragraphs I saw what maturity you have. The time you are spending with Jesus each evening is one of the greatest things you could do and to long to be with him at the age of 18 is awesome. Some Christians never have that longing and they’re not as mature as you. Oh, I’ve talked enough…. Keep writing and many hugs!
    Rita or Nana Rita to many (your mom’s friend)

    Liked by 1 person

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