Sum of One | Breaking the Language Barrier
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Breaking the Language Barrier

Breaking the Language Barrier

Well, my journey to speak Tagalog has been interrupted several times. I was doing quite well for a few weeks there, picking up my computer every night while my husband worked and I repeatedly said,”Ano ito?” “Ang manzana ito.” Then we had our first fundraiser, then we had the holidays, then we were moving, then I had a cold…ah excuses.

As I get older, I am learning that I often make excuses to not do things that should really be a priority. At very least, I need to be comfortably understanding Tagalog before our trip to the Philippines. Bartering and asking simple questions should be old hat by now, but I allowed other ‘things’ to take up my time and pushed learning the language down to procrastinationville. Ah, procrastinating priorities. It is something I figured out how to do early in life, with my schoolwork, with tasks in my job, and even with friendships.

Although I am quite good at pointing, facial expressions and mixing languages enough to get by, there is just nothing quite like the expression on someone’s face when you speak their language. It is always a mix of excitement, shock and puzzled interest as the person tries to figure out why you speak with words they can understand, words that are familiar to them but clearly somewhat foreign to the speaker. Part of learning for me is the anticipation of seeing that expression, knowing that they will not expect it to come from me.

Learning to break the language barrier is not something I can afford to procrastinate on. My goal in speaking Tagalog isn’t just for our trip to the Philippines, it is for our Ebalo family gatherings, for future fundraising endeavors, and for passing on a piece of Ervin’s heritage to our future children. Tagalog is not an easy language to learn, but there is not much in life that is easy.

Live in the now, but always think and do for the future.

Lauren Ebalo

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