A little thought I had after Creative Writing class, the other day…
As a kid, I remember wanting desperately to be an adult already. I wanted a say in important conversations. I wanted to understand all the big words being said and make remarks that garnered a laugh on purpose, instead of on accident. Once I grew up, it took mere seconds to forget about that feeling—feeling so small. I thought it was a mountain you only had to conquer once in your life.
Now, here I am, in a foreign country, with all of those feelings rushing back. I’m often just that kid again, not understanding all the words in peoples’ sentences, blurting out things that make people laugh. It’s a funny feeling. Discouraging, kind of, sometimes. Disconnecting.
Living in England, a reference will be made, at least once a day, to something I don’t recognize. A person, a place, an event… something uniquely important to people here that wasn’t touched on back home. I’ve come to expect it now. Rely on it, maybe. At some point today, tomorrow, and the day after that, I will feel lost.
Sometimes I stop a conversation to ask. Most times, I don’t. I scan the room and see that I’m the one person who doesn’t understand what’s being spoken about. It happens in classes, meetings, and big groups of friends—places where it would be rude, if not embarrassing, to disrupt everyone on my account. Instead, I stay quiet. I wait, hoping that enough context will arise to hook me back into understanding the conversation. Most times, it doesn’t. I stay lost. It becomes a foreign language. I tune out. In my head, I’m picking up my chair and walking it to the back of the room, demoting myself from the discussion. I can’t contribute. I’m simply an observer. I’m at the kids’ table, wishing I was an adult again.