A friend of mine in Sweden, just got back home from New York City. He’s 75 years old and doesn’t speak one word of English! I guess he had some sort of hang-up … that he really wanted to see NYC. Not like me … I want to go there too … it’s like the city itself is calling me … no, he wanted to visit some jazz club (Blue Note). His wife didn’t want to go, so he persuaded a niece to travel with him.
At first, I was under the impression that the niece didn’t speak English either. In Sweden, I’d say most people are more or less fluent in English BUT … not people that were born before 1945. That’s just an impression I have … something must have changed with regards to education around that year. My brother was born 1945 and he’s good in English. Turned out that I’d misunderstood and that the niece did speak a little English after all!
Now … I found this to be really brave. Okay, many people travel to different countries without speaking the language but they might either travel in a group or have some kind of arrangements. These guys were on their own. I kept thinking about what it would be like … being in a huge city, not being able to pronounce the simplest word?! How do you order in a restaurant? How do you tell a cab driver where to go? I guess you can point on a map, but still…?!
Nevertheless, they made it back and forth and he’s sent me pictures of the usual stuff … Statue of Liberty and so on … this one here is from the top of Empire State Building, I suspect. Very courageous!
This word … «courageous» leads me to an entirely different subject. «Brave, courageous» are two words that I apparently have not had the full grip of in English. They are used differently compared to my native tongue. I know what they mean, alright … it’s just the usage of them.
To me, those words used to be reserved for firefighters, people who jumped in to stormy seas to save a life … stuff like that — not because of writing a blog about your inner thoughts or taking part in a photo challenge. Now I know, but at first I found it a bit confusing when a person I used to know said that she didn’t have the courage to take part in a photo challenge we were discussing. Languages are funny that way … words can take on a much wider meaning in one language!
Now, that was a parenthesis. Back to NYC! One day, I’ll go there too … now that it’s more within my reach, so to speak. It’s one of my hang-ups … it keeps popping up in my dreams. I even wrote down a dream I had, as a blog post. I have it in my drafts folder and will post it some time soon. I’ve tried to explain to Gerry what this is all about … I’ve written about it before, I think. It’s no particular place there that I desperately want to see … well, the ordinary, touristy stuff … but it’s that I want to … once in my life get to experience the immensity of it all … feel the pulse of it … the pace. When I go … I’ll make sure it’s in late October or so, so that it’s not too hot and I’ll be able to enjoy.