Being an Alien in a Small City

When I was a kid, my father used to tell me that whenever teachers wanted to teach a foreign language to an alien, they used to send him to a small village where he/she had no choice but to pick up the said language. At least that is what he used to tell me whenever I used to ask him how he came to learn Sindhi. I always used to wonder what it would have felt like to learn something this way; by diving into the deep end of the pool. I mean I’m someone who has always took the safe approach to things, perhaps that’s why I never bothered jumping in the deep end of the pool even after my swimming instructor explicitly asked me to do so, just so I would learn to keep afloat on top of water. Well, ten years have passed since then and now I finally know how it would have felt like if I would had indeed jumped in the deep side of the pool.

It’s been almost a month now and apart from learning a few food names, some pleasantries and the phrase: “Please, can you speak English?” I don’t know a single word of German. For those of you who don’t know, I live in a small city (well to be more precise somewhat of a modernized village, in my view) and people here mostly get by without bothering to learn or speak an ounce of English. Of course, the younger generation does speak English quite well thanks to modern advances in the field of internet but hey, there are always easier ways to be officially charged as a pervert/pedophile.

Now, don’t take any wrong meanings, people in big cities tend to speak English as fluently as Eminem high on caffeine but that’s about it. If you’re anywhere else, you would have a better time finding someone who knows Klingon than of locating someone who would understand a single phrase being uttered from your mouth.

The only bright side is that at least my professors have the courtesy of staying true to the advertisement in the brochures as they teach in fluent English. Which to be honest is quite a surprise considering that the official mode of teaching at many institutions back in Pakistan is English but that’s as funny as a joke containing a priest, a rabi and a mulla walking into a bar naked.

Now, I know that one can learn swimming by jumping in the deep end of the pool but there’s a reason why this method is usually not recommended! The reason being that in the worst case scenario you would end up drowning or worse: pronouncing words like RatHaus (rat house) and Deutsche (Douche) like they would sound in English in front of a German.

Of course, living in a small city does have its advantages such as being able to recognize people by their bus stops or the ability to traverse the entire city boarder on foot within an hour or two but that’s about it.

Since this is a small city, there is not much diversification to speak of. The times when I really feel like seeing something of mixed color, I just make my way down to the local supermarket and stare down the chocolate aisle where the dark chocolates are placed next to the brown and white ones since I know that this is as close to diversification as I’m going to come. However, every now and then, I do tend to meet an occasional dreamer out chasing a unicorn but hey, I have too much dignity to stoop that low.

All in all, it’s not really that bad but then again I would really have had preferred moving to a country whose language I was able to speak. But you know what they say, “Beggars can’t be choosers” and in my case that certainly holds up.

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3 Responses to “Being an Alien in a Small City”

  1. i’m glad you’re getting the hang of being away from home.

    it gets worse.

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