Imagine, for just a minute, an alternative scenario:
You’re once again chatting with your Sri Lankan friends but now it weirdly seems like they’re not speaking as fast they used to. Everything appears to have slowed down! Earlier, you’d pick up a one or two familiar words but now you’re understanding pretty much everything that is being said. You don’t need to pretend to understand them or their jokes because, guess what?...
You actually do!
Meeting up with them or chatting with them collectively online has a whole new dynamic now. You don’t need bring the conversation to a halt by asking anyone to translate. Maybe a new word here and there but even then, the context of the rest of the chat instantly gives you a clue of what those new words meant.
You’re not feeling lost anymore. You're not feeling left out anymore .
You’re also no more that person sitting quietly in the corner, trying to hide in plain site. Instead, you join in using every word with confidence. Sure, you know you still have a slight accent but you’ve heard locals speak and you know that your pronunciation is not that far from theirs. You’re stressing the right syllables and you’re speaking grammatically correct Sinhala. You’ve gotten over your shyness and your fear of sounding silly or being laughed at. Also, it turns out you are good at languages after all.
You feel like you now belong to the group and they’ve welcomed you as one of their own.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. You now have within you a treasure trove of words and phrases for typical everyday situations. Could be while you’re out shopping, your ordering something over the phone, taking public transport, or giving clear instructions to your help at home. You’re feel more comfortable that nobody is trying to take advantage of you because even if they tried, you can set them straight in their own language.
Even at work, bonding with the local team, with clients, and other associates has certainly impacted your life in more ways than you expected.
Either way, it doesn’t matter if it’s home or at work, you’ve now got the right words & phrases that flow effortlessly for each of these scenarios.
Everyone you meet now is touched that you made the effort to learn their language. You know you did this to make life easier for yourself but making them happy and proud and showing them how important they are to you was a totally underestimated bonus.
You’re making that deeper connection you’ve been wanting to with the people who matter.
You’re now able to blend in as a local instead of feeling like a tourist. This is the country you’ll be staying in for a while and you’ve finally managed to integrate.
You see tourists around you and smile to yourself knowing you're not one of them anymore. You now know what’s going around you.