Friday, August 12, 2005

Short In Words, Deep In Soul

I am not a native speaker of the English language used in this country. I grow up using a totally different language and system. Vocabulary of my English is limited, in terms that if I want to use this language to convince or impress that I am leading a life with depth and delicacy.

For the sake of clarification, I have more than adequate working vocabulary to ensure that I can pretty much thrive in my job and prior to that getting my MBA degree. (Click here for an example of my working vocabulary). But they don't strike me as so useful when you need to get into a smart conversation in the bar with a cute stranger (does a thing like this even exist) or in an after work party.

I am very short in words in daily life. Sometimes I feel I am living a silent movie type of life at this end of earth. People who are not close to me think I am quiet.

I am especially unfamiliar with nouns that describe little things that one might find useful in life, like certain type of nails or bedding items. I can not name many plants or vegetables; better at fruits and meat, but very bad at cheese or cold cuts.

I can not name any major symptoms of disease in this language other than “ache”, “itching”, coughing or running nose as well as a lack of sleep.

I am afraid I can not be a good mother or wife in this country.

On the other side, I am not familiar with nouns that describe very complicated emotional state or experience either. I know jealousy, pain, loneliness or hurt, but I don’t know until someone tells me the feelings of guilt over happiness, opacity, sabotage of relationship and masochistic.

The combination of this means that I can not be very talkative to you with small things that will make you feel at home, nor would I be able to talk to you about delicate feelings so that make you feel I am extremely sensitive.

And I don’t have enough verbs to interchange, because of that I can not even give you an example, because I don’t have enough verb to interchange.

Or maybe I do have one: When I say love, I mean love as it is, I don’t know words like I have feelings for you.

I am afraid I can not demonstrate a deep soul with such a shortage of words. And I am afraid we can not get that close when I can not name all the things that you have in your apartment or I can not be as witty to you as any other girl who might have just one tenth of my sense of humor or determine to make us laugh together, but much more words to use.

I use the word “stuff” a lot, referring to small nameless things to me. I use the word “things” a lot too, referring to all kind of feelings, utensils in kitchen, list to do and topics I want to ask you next time we are together.

And I use the word “use” a lot too.

In our conversation, I often time says: you know, that word, what is it, strangle, yes, I want to strangle you. Although I really meant to shake you up and ask you to make up your mind and tell me what the hell is this thing that is between us.

And when you say to me, “you know, that is not some kind of “self- fulfilling prophecy either”, I am amazed at the fact that I totally know this expression in Chinese but this is how you say it in English. Great! But I do think it is a self fulfilling prophecy. Yet I missed the time to tell you since I am so excited about the word you chose to use.

Yes, not only am I short in words, I am not fast enough to spit out those that I know either. I feel mute.

And this is compounded by the fact that you do not say much at all for me to react to when it comes down to things that matter. I do not get a chance to practice and improve my language skills with you. We are many times faced with each other, heart to heart or whatever it is that you have that still pumps blood, and wordless.

How is this going to work when I am short on words and you are short on expressing with words?

Maybe that is why we have awkward silence in our phone conversations, when I know what to say but is finding my words while you know what you want to say but is holding it back.

You said to me once that “you write or talk with such straightforward ness. It must be a culture thing.”

I think it is a blessing that I do not have many words to manipulate in your language. I will choose the plainest yet most accurate, the very reason that it probably mostly likely to be known by me.

So really, when I say love, I mean love as it is, I don’t know words like I have feelings for you.

PS from author: there is not much about deep in soul in this writing. It started with the topic and I still like it, but in the middle of the writing, things (see how much I like this word) take a turn, and I do not know how to get to the part of my soul. I decided to let it be.


Post a Comment

<< Home