There are multiple ways for a location to be outside your realm of comfort. For me, the culture and lifestyle isn’t too different from that in Nigeria – but language – I might as well be a complete and total foreigner. But I’m surviving and I can hear my language skills improving every day! Why just yesterday, I understood my first full Wolof sentence that wasn’t slowly directed at me! Bayyil xale bi – leave the child!
In addition, the human desire to converse really pushes you to be quite creative!! One time, I was trying to ask for a match and was trying to play charades with Baba Kaar and Allen. I was given a towel to dry my hand because that was apparently what my motions looked like. Then a sponge for bathing. And finally I drew a match with a box next to it and Baba Kaar goes “allumette!” You bet I’m never going to forget that word!
And that’s just it. Everyone is really patient with me here when they see that I am trying to speak Wolof or French and they get excited when we successfully understand each other! It definitely makes it easier to try and learn!