Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 20; Dublin

The use of language has got to be the coolest and most proud aspect that humans have the ability to use. I have now traveled to countries that speak in seven different languages: Spanish, English, French, Dutch, German, Czech and Italian...but what a treat and luxory it is to speak English.

English is quickly becoming an international language. Last night, I took the late bus to the airport (for an 11 hour airport sit) as I got to the bus stop, a Turkish guy (all people in this story are in their mid-20's) started talking to me about getting a better rate by getting our tickets together, so we did. As we get on the bus we sat near the front and continued to comes a girl from Moscow on her way to Paris and sits by us on the bus and starts speaking to us in English, in this great stereotypical Russian accent. 5 min later, a guy from Taiwan sits down next to her and says, "Is this the English conversation?"

The next 30 min we all just had a conversation in English (practice for the other three) and I just sat back and marveled at the lucky break I got from being born an American. I hear it all the time (and everytime it's true) that I am lucky to be an American, but when I get to actually witness it, it's an even greater realization.

I still fully intend on getting the Rosetta Stone (not the one I saw in London but the language program) and learning Spanish.

I am captivated by language. Seemingly nonsense words now turning into lasting conversations on an hour-long bus ride in Milan (We were all in Italy, none of us spoke Italian and all from different parts of the world yet shared laughter and smiles because of a common language).

Jumping down from the soapbox, Dublin is phenomenal. It is exactly like I pictured it...thousands of little pubs "McNellie's-style" all over the place and on every corner.

I really got to experience the people in Milan and Lugano and now in Dublin. While traveling with two of my friends I tried my best to interact with locals but when it is your only chance for conversation for the day, you try even harder.

Since my friends left and went back to the U.S.A. I have had sooo many encounters with locals that I wish a photo would suffice. I even try to take photos of the situation but nothing compares. Tonight (in one pub) I had a local explain to me the rules of rugby as we watched the live match on tv. Heading to another pub, I had a local raise his glass to me and wish me safe travels, afterwards we (and a few other locals) watched Brazil beat up on Italy in the soccer game. In Milan, some locals bought me beers and asked me to sit with them while I waited for my couch surfing host, Claudio...people are great. People, in my opinion want to do the right thing, the good thing...whatever that might be. I believe OKC is another example of people opening their generosity wallets and sharing whatever they have with strangers.

Being on the road for the past 3 weeks has really showed me what it is like to be an outsider. Seven languages and four currencies later, I have learned what it's like to try and fit in and fail miserably and depend on someone around me for help. People want to help. I have learned that I have to make myself available, swallow that pride and just talk, in the best broken (whatever native) language I'm in and open myself up.

Whether or not they speak English, people are still people.

Good night from Dublin.

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