Expat

Lost in Translation

posted by saltybug.com 01/03/2016 4 Comments

I’ve noticed something has changed

The things I say are not translating to my friends back home. I did wonder if this would happen, if my reality would become so different to my community back home. How would it change my relationships?

I was having my monthly Girls Night by Skype the other week and I was relaying a conversation I had to have with our new driver. One of my friends interrupted me and said ‘geez Sar’. I stopped and said ‘I know how that must sound to you, let me explain’. Then I built that context up so my friends back home could try to understand the lay of my land.

Last night I was messaging another friend, telling her about a conversation I had with my maid. My friend said ‘come on love, really?’ Again I gave some context but I knew my reality was lost in that exchange over messenger.

I spoke to B-Bug about it and she just looked at me and said ‘you cannot translate. You cannot possibly understand how another’s life is in a completely different culture, unless you live it’.

A conversation here is now so natural between my friends and me, where the meaning of our words are understood based on our context. Yet my friends who I have had in my life for so much longer, who have seen me at my very best and my very worst and all that comes inbetween; my conversation with them has become more guarded, less detailed and sometimes disjointed.

The comments from my friends have startled me, made me question my humanity. I feel lost for a moment, spinning around in a kind of void. My bearings disappear as my mind struggles to figure out where it is and how it is meant to be thinking. This way, or that way.

You see there are such vast cultural differences here you cannot compare to back home. Now one year on I am recognizing how my life gets lost in translation.

I want to share my life as fully as I ever did before, and so the challenge for me is how to create a dialogue we both understand. One that keeps me connected across the ocean to those I hold so dear.

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4 Comments

Janine Ripper 01/03/2016 at 3:26 pm

Wow that takes me back to that movie, Lost in Translation, giving it a whole other meaning to me. I think it also comes down to mindset and open minds and how well others have travelled… yes no? You have gotten through so much you can do this too. In a way I guess its letting go of what once was and developing something new and exciting in which your old friends will either share in or not – and there's nothing wrong with either scenario although that doesn't make it hurt any less. I feel the same way on a different issue. I can clearly break my life into 2 components – pre and post brain injury, and to be honest not a lot of people want to listen or try and understand why its so different. I try to accept this but its bloody hard. And I just don't know how to talk to some people anymore if they can't make a little bit of effort to try to understand or at least read a paragraph about something I send them to help them help me.

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Salty Bug 01/03/2016 at 4:07 pm

It is a difficult one and it is these times you learn so much about yourself and your relationships.

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Marie Loerzel 04/03/2016 at 1:55 am

I agree with B-bug, there is no way anyone else could understand unless they've lived it.

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Salty Bug 04/03/2016 at 8:19 am

It's a tricky one! Show's why it is so important to meet friends quickly so you have someone to share with.

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