(Andre, myself, Francoise and Erik enjoying a typical Swiss meal, fondue. So yummy!!)
Hello from Venice, Italy! I am so sorry for the lack of communication these past couple weeks. Before I came on this trip, I had it in my mind that I would be one of those writers who sits in a quaint little European cafe, or on the banks of a beautiful canal, and write everyday. I have watched too many romantic movies I guess. I really do aspire to be one of those type of writers one day, but at the moment the reality is, my husband and I are constantly visiting family and friends, and seeing the sites, and I have had little time to write at all. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am NOT complaining, as we are having a fabulous time, and are visiting some incredible places, but I definitely will need to figure out the balance between “work” and pleasure in the future if I want to take my writing to the next level. Anyway……just some internal thoughts I am having and wanted to share.
Lets get on to what I really wanted to share with you today though…..the concept that people do not have to speak the same language to have beautiful moments together and make lifelong memories. While Erik and I were in Geneva, we spent time with one of his oldest friends, Andre (they went to university in Rotterdam together almost 40 years ago), and his girlfriend, Francoise. We spent every evening enjoying wine, great food, talking about stories from the past, getting caught up on each other’s children and lives now, and just enjoying the moments (sometimes until almost 3 in the morning, but whatever…)….the funny thing about this however, is that Francoise only speaks French, and I only speak English, but somehow between the 2 guys translating (they both speak many languages), and sometimes just by making gestures and looking into each other’s eyes, we understood each other. Sometimes we were left in a room alone, and yet we still were able to communicate. It was fabulous!
As you know, I am a people person. I love people. I love to connect on deep levels with people. So when I realized that although not once had the two of us spoke each other’s language, somehow a new friendship had started. It made my heart so full!
Then, a few days later after Erik and I had said good-bye to Geneva and Andre and Francoise, we found ourselves at a community breakfast table at the bed and breakfast we were staying at in Lake Como, Italy. There were 3 couples, one from Italy, one from France, and then us from America. Again, no one really spoke any English. So between the courteous smiles and reaching of the hands for the items on the table, we all ended up laughing together and enjoying a group breakfast. A few broken words of all languages commenced, and then we were off on our separate vacation destinations. But for one hour, we all came together and communicated with each other without really understanding. But it didn’t matter. A human connection had once again occurred, just like it did a few days earlier in Geneva with Francoise.
(the community breakfast table at the bed and breakfast in Lake Como)
These simple encounters I experienced made me think about how much we all complicate things most of the time. How we allow the lack of understanding one another get in the way of so much possibility. How frustrated we sometimes get when we feel misunderstood. Sometimes there is validity to the frustrations of course, but sometimes maybe assumptions come into play, so we never even try to relate to each other. Am I right?
I have really taken these experiences as a life lesson for me, and now my friend, I encourage you to take pause this week as well when it comes to communication with others. Most likely you will be speaking the same language so that is already a bonus to what I have been experiencing, but sometimes even then, we lack the understanding of what one is saying. If this is the case, instead of feeling frustrated, look at their gestures, look into their eyes….do the words they are saying actually match what they are trying to communicate? Look deeper. Ask questions. After all, sometimes you don’t need words to understand what they are saying. Just be simple. Connect on a human level instead of only on a level that makes you comfortable. You just might start some new friendships that you didn’t even know you needed.
Have a great Monday! Thinking of you from Venice.