On my recent travels, much of my time was spent in Puerto Rico where the predominant language spoken was Spanish. Unfortunately, I did the bare minimum requirement in language building early on in life with a few years of French classes. I know many other countries have their children becoming fluent in several languages just to move beyond the primary school years.
One of the things that I see most often with many Americans is a self-centered perspective when traveling outside the continental United States. The idea that someone doesn’t speak English seems so foreign to many of these travelers. I’m sure many are guilty of doing the routine of adding letters such as “e” or “o” or “y” at the end of English words while they are speaking to any foreigner with the hopes that the other person might understand. I’m sure what it sounds like to them is probably more like gobbledygook and gibberish.
Between the silence that was present during all of my local cab rides or when I attempted to communicate with the resort room cleaning staff to no avail, I felt a sense of sadness. I was sad that I had never taken the time to learn any other language fluently. I was sad that I couldn’t do anything but just say hello. I was sad that I too had been a self-centered tourist for most of my life expecting everyone to understand my language. Some statistics I’ve read lately have said that Spanish is going to become the main language spoken in the United States in the not too distant future. According to other research I did on the internet, the most spoken languages for people in the world are first, Mandarin Chinese, then second, Spanish, and third, English. Unfortunately, even if one knew all three of those languages, it would only cover 25 percent of the world’s population. This brings me to the point of this blog entry.
I’m a big superhero fan. I watch anything that deals with people with special powers. I loved the show Heroes when it was on, and am currently engaged in Arrow on the CW. I always ask people when I get to know them what superpower they would have if they were granted one. So many always choose Superman’s powers. Some resort to saying they would just want the skills that Batman has. Women migrate over to Wonder-woman quite a bit. Lately with the Avengers movie having taken the world by storm, characters such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain American, and the Hulk have gained a lot more notoriety. But after watching the TV show Heroes several years ago, I learned that superpowers could be just about anything.
After taking my trip to Puerto Rico and traveling from there to several Caribbean islands where I didn’t understand any dialects being spoken, I decided my superpower, if granted one, would be uniquely different from what the comic books, TV shows, and movies portray. I would want to be fluent both verbally and on paper with every language of the world. I don’t hold the attitude that everyone should speak English. To me that is self-centered. I like to communicate to people and I would love to be able to do that in the native dialect of wherever I am visiting. I hope to someday be able to speak globally about my spiritual journey of healing with God at the center of my life. Being fluent in all the languages of the world would help me to bring that message on a more direct level to people from every corner of the planet.
While I know it’s only a dream that I could have that type of a superpower, I promised myself after this past trip that in the near future, I am going to start taking Spanish classes to at least be a step closer in making that dream come true.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson