Friday, February 22, 2008

The Subtleties of Loneliness

There are days when I really wish I could communicate in French as me.

I'm never sure that what I'm saying really corresponds with what I'm trying to say. I search for words and phrases to express myself, but I know that I'm falling short in so many ways and it makes me feel very lost and isolated.

I've made huge progress with my French over 5 years, but I still am not convinced my French friends here 'get' me sometimes. The ease and familiarity I find with other native English speakers is something I don't think I'll ever truely have within my French. There are two or three exceptions to this, and I cling to them and their friendship like a drowning man.

Yesterday afternoon, we spent some time with another French friend and her kids that we hadn't seen for a while. We enjoyed ourselves completely, but driving home, all I wanted to do was contact my closest friends from the English speaking world.

I don't know why, but having coffee and chatting away with her made me miss the closeness I've had with my friends in my own language. Of course, I tried phoning a sister in the US but our lovely telephone service that comes from Italy somehow wouldn't connect to a line across the ocean.

I was beginning to see the waves crashing all around me, pulling me deeper into the water. It was roughly about this point that Hubster got home from w0rk.

Sometimes I complain that even though Hubster and I both speak English, we don't speak the same English. There are times when our phrases and choices of words don't make sense to the other Anglo-phone. But we at least have a common base. Normally, we get there in the end.

And normally, Hubster gets me. And on days like yesterday, I thank God for that and the way he maneuvers the lifeboat.


RHB said...

Looking forward to hanging out today! I totally "get" how you feel. SO hard to feel that real understanding has taken place between friends when we can't communicate with those friends in our "heart language". Love you girl and SO thankful that at the moment we are in this thing together!

Sue said...

My guess is that when you gab in French, you have to work. There isn't a free thought exchange because you are worried that you are speaking correctly/insulting them/explaining yourself. Even in English we have this problem if we're talking to the wrong people. I MISS YA!!!

Diane said...

Ok, I don't care what language it is, I get what you are saying about hubster. My friends over here frequently have such continuingly negative things to say about their spouses, I wish I didn't understand them. And of course I don't because my husband is jsut like hubster and gets me, he is a clone of the same clone after all.

hubster dave said...


Katie Fries said...

Have you read *The Namesake* by Jhumpa Lahiri? I think you would relate to the mother in the book. Her situation doesn't exactly parallel yours (she never really comes to accept her new surroundings)--it doesn't exactly parallel mine, either--but the idea of finding yourself settled in and raising children in a place that is not *home* really resonated with me.