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Foreign, not deaf

Human interactions are fascinating, especially when the people involved in the linguistic exchange don’t share a common language. Picture the following scenario: a native speaker attempts to communicate with a foreigner. The native says something and the non-native looks puzzled. Then the native repeats the exact same thing in the exact same order and speed, just 30 decibels louder. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, language comics, life abroad, native speaker yelling to foreigner

My hearing works perfectly, thank you very much. I’m foreign, not deaf. Shouting is not going to magically make me speak your language or understand words that I haven’t previously learnt. Rephrase, use simpler structures, find more basic vocabulary… anything but yelling.

Two people don’t need a common language to communicate. They just need to be willing to understand each other.

REduce, REuse, REcycle

I know Expat Gone Foreign is supposed to be all about life abroad, learning languages, discovering new cultures and places, and so on. However, we might not have a planet where to do all those marvelous things sooner than we think. The demands of modern society have turned us into frantic zombies who try to get by from one day to the next. This lifestyle comes at a price. Not only is it killing us, but it also has a huge impact on the planet 1Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, Reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink, plastic

I bike past stores, shops and bakeries every morning. Sometimes I count the people I see biking. Sometimes I count the cars that only have one person inside 2. Sometimes I count the people I see holding a disposable cup. Sometimes I have to stop counting to prevent being run over by yet another frantic driver.

Environmental awareness is one of the aspects that I really admire about Germany, yet 320.000 disposable cups are used every hour in this country alone. That makes 2.8 billion cups per year. But it’s not just Germany. Oh, no. The human being is a horrendous creature everywhere on the planet. Worldwide, 500 billion plastic cups are used every year. Yes, that’s one 5 followed by 11 zeros.

Nowadays it’s practically impossible to live without plastic, but we can choose to minimize our hazardous impact. If something can’t be reused, repaired, recycled or repurposed; remove it from your life or at least reduce its consumption. Would you like a drink? Great! Bring your own reusable cup. Or better yet, take a 10 minute-break to clear your head, sit down and enjoy the little pleasures of life.