The luxury of travel is not one every teenager has the pleasure of experiencing. I knew, even before I left, that my time abroad should be appreciated and not taken for granted.What I hadn’t accounted for was the immersion into a world so unlike my own that my family was sometimes the only people who understood me.
One day after a visit to the Palace of Versailles in Paris, my family and I had been sitting mutely on a train coach when a large group of Spanish speaking people came jubilantly aboard.The family and friends spread throughout the coach, subsequently dominating the train.I sat quietly as I observed the glow that vibrated off the Spaniards as they yelled joyfully back and forth to each other, catching only pieces of the conversation.The women appeared to be the most social in the family, making jokes right and left.Three Chinese teenage girls observed with the same sense of reserve, speaking softly to each other in Chinese.A young woman, who chuckled at the Spanish jokes, smiled as she spoke Italian to her sister.Languages twisted around me with grace, flowing from the mouths of many different people.
I pondered over the recent events that day, thinking about the meaning of different languages.I realized that had I not left the United States, I never would have found myself at a loss for words.But as I traveled farther from home, I learned to make up for my lack of common language through body expression.The world doesn’t revolve around English; it doesn’t even depend upon one unified language, but solely on the respect and appreciation of the differences in many cultures.
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