I am sitting on the boat, beer in hand, looking at the sunset. The boat is rocking back and forth, and I am rocking with it. My friend is arriving with the small tender, he just went to pick up more people from the beach. I spent a year in school in Spain when I grew up, and I invested a lot of time and energy actually learning how to read and write the language later on. I always thought speaking languages would be useful, to advance my career, but in reality as I noticed this summer, knowing how to speak a foreign language, doesn't have to bring any material gain.
I look Guiri, because I am blond, so everyone automatically thinks I don't speak Spanish, but I do, and I really like speaking it. Of course the first thing anyone asks me is why I speak Spanish, and then I tell my story, and I also say that I speak 5 languages in total. This particular day I add that so far the languages have not really been of any help at work, I only ever speak German and English. And then I say: Speaking languages only make me happy. As soon as the words leave my mouth, I knew that this is it. It is not about impressing anyone, it is because a language is filled with memories. I speak the languages when I am on holiday, so I am actually quite glad work hasn't ruined it for me. For Spanish, it has been all my vacations with my best friends in Ibiza, our girls trips, where we have so, so, so much fun. For Italian, it is the time I spent with my Italian family, as a babysitter. The endless summer days at the beach. For French it is the great French literature that I had the pleasure of reading.
Together with the memories, there is another thing that really makes me happy. It is about discovering words. Words that capture so perfectly a specific situation, or a feeling, some languages have it, others don't.
For example, I recently re-discovered a word: Bavarder in French. In Italian it is
chiacchierare. Such cute words. They really gave me a warm sensation around the heart. I imagine it is one of those days where it's sunny but a little cold. It is probably around 9am, and I am on my way to do something, but I stop and grab a coffee. I am standing there on the corner of this cute little cafe, chatting to someone, anyone. Probably taking about how lovely the weather is today.
It is the little things in life that bring happiness. Sometimes we don't have to look very far to find them.