speakin’ the heathen chinee – part II

Whenever I’m travelling abroad, I worry about the fact that I either don’t speak the native language, or don’t speak it well enough to please the Evil Culture Masters (one of these days, thugs from the académie française are going to come in the dead of night and beat me to death with a dictionary, I swear). Away from home I become like-it-or-not a representative of all the pop culture that by virtue of an economic bludgeon has spread round the globe and turned into, well, all those English-language ads on Danish television. And this brings on nebulous feelings of guilt.

To be painfully honest with myself, I think this guilt lies at the heart of yesterday’s post – aside from the general whining about how I can’t swear in public. But, the more time I actually spend abroad, the more I wonder if I’m just being silly. Of course it’s ridiculous that the American public education system doesn’t try harder to shove a second language down our throats, but if I’m going to start feeling guilty for all the failures of the American public education system then I’ve got an awful lot of angst ahead of me. And after all, the important thing isn’t how you communicate, it’s that you communicate at all, and between English and crap French I can get on well enough in most urban/educated parts of the world. The rural/less-educated, I suppose, will just have to do without my glorious presence until I can find an interpreter. I don’t know how they’ll ever manage.

Eh. There’s more to whinge, but none of it’s important, and I should really go do my Danish homework. Undskyld, kan du sige mig, hvor mange gange jeg skal klippe på et blåt kort, når jeg skal til Hvidovre?

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