As you may or may not have noticed, my boyfriend is a pure bred Italian. He was born and raised in the South of Italy. When we met, I had just come back from my own euro trip and was happy that I could say “preggo mille” in Italian but that was the extent of it.
He knew more extensive english – he’d learned it back in high school, but he hadn’t practiced in years when we met.
The first night that we met could’ve definitely been a scene in a rom com. After a series of missed connections throughout the night, ended up walking alone with the beautiful backdrop of the Ocean… but there was a lot of silence and scrunched up foreheads trying to understand eachothers responses to each question that was asked. The ‘getting to know you’ phase was (and still is) pretty comical.
That was one year ago…
Now his english has improved to the point where I sound like myself again and not some type of foreigner myself. Even my ‘empathetic accent’ is gone (for the most part).
What I get asked the most is how I’m able to deal with a language barrier with someone that’s so close to me. Reminds me of the movie Love Actually when Colin Firth’s character fell in love with the Portuguese housekeeper despite knowing zip of each other’s language. In the end he proposes to her in broken Portuguese and she accepts in broken English. Now of course that’s a Hollywood plot but yes despite the language barrier between him and I, there is an undercurrent of feeling and connection that has been there ever since we met.
I even think it’s better that we started this way, than if we had started off speaking the same language. Yes of course accents are sexy but it’s because I’m not caught up if he’s said ‘all the right things’. I’ve really had to rely on my other senses like feeling and intuition – which now I wished I used more in the past.
I also noticed that we fight a lot less too. I’m not hung up on what he said or how he said it. In the rare case that I am, I naturally listen to him explain further until I really understand or just give him a pass.
This has taught me to have remarkable patience to hear him out, which has definitely been a blessing to our relationship.
We all might ‘not speak the same language’ at times, but with patience to hear each other out – I’m sure there will be a lot more peace and understanding in all of our relationships.