The Struggles of Being Bili….Trilingual(ish?)

Fernanda Tornell - Brazil


December 20, 2016

 

Ever since I moved from Mexico to the United States I began to struggle to juggle two languages. Now that I am in the process of learning a third, these struggles are adding up everyday. I could go ahead and write a full blog post about all my feelings and frustrations, buuuut we all know memes are always the best idea.

I feel like anyone who speaks more than one language will relate to these and will understand where I am coming from!
When you need to say a word but you can only think of it in another language 

Anyone who knows me knows it’s a daily game of charades.. Which usually ends in “nevermind..”


When you have an awesome comeback when arguing with someone but it’s in another language and doesn’t translate

Basically things just don’t translate…
Especially idioms, but I don’t really use those in either language so we can move on to feelings for example, “te quiero” goes far beyond “I care for you”. It’s that romantic state right before you say “te amo” but it can also be used to express genuine feelings for a friend. You know?

Always being made fun of your accent… No matter what language you speak

Always confusing other people when your brain and mouth do not cooperate and only you know what you are trying to say

It always makes sense in my head.

When you forget to change the language on your keyboard and autocorrect takes over

Typing “What are you doing today?” but sending “What área you domingo today?”

Getting asked questions like “In what language do you dream/ think?”


Needing a minute to switch languages when someone starts speaking to you in another one


But also switching languages mid-sentence without noticing when talking to someone who knows your same languages

Thinking something through in one language and having to say it in another

At work I have to talk to tourists all day (usually Brazilian) and explain everything about Projeto Tamar to them. However, I learned everything in Portuguese and whenever there is a spanish/ english speaker, I always have to think a little more in order to speak to them.

Trying to translate a joke and stopping halfway through because you know the humor will get lost in translation

“It’s really funny I swear!

You’re always the stranger or the “gringa”

At work I have sooo many nicknames the main ones are gringa, chica, Juanita, or Mexicana.. I think about half of my co-workers know my actual name.

..but in the end, being the gringa with the accent will always be worth it because let’s face it so far I speak 3 languages.

(but really 2 and a quarter 🙂

 

 

Fernanda Tornell