Every country on earth has minorities. In every country there are people who don’t know the language well, who are living where they are because of necessity or family connections or a job. People don’t appreciate just how hard it is to live somewhere and not know the language. Working at the credit card company, I’ve found just how easily affection springs up whenever someone hears someone speaking their own language. For one, there are a lot of Russian speakers at work, and they’re almost always to be found during their breaks to be speaking with each other in Russian, even though all of them speak perfect Hebrew. But it’s irresistible to speak your home language while around others who know it.
Another example of this is how English-speaking clients react when they find out I can speak English. My bosses recently realized that I’m American and have since been foisting every English speaking client they can upon me. I don’t really mind though, because the rush of gratitude I can hear in these clients voices at being addressed in soft English, rather than garish and barking Hebrew, is a reward unto itself.
This raises a common question though – if you’ve moved to a country and are living there permanently, isn’t it part of your responsibility to learn the language? Or should you be allowed to expect that you’ll always find someone who speaks your language to help translate things for you?
There is something especially wonderful about the pleasures one can find in states of great pain. Pain is not a thing that most of us appreciate, nor should we. It’s something our body does to let us know something is wrong – we’re stepping on glass, the music is too loud, we’re straining our muscles too much.
However, migraines are a pain which no one really understands. Scientists and doctors haven’t quite figured out why people get them or how to cure them. As a sufferer of such pains, I will describe them briefly, as they are similar to many other pains that we can have: Constant pain, seeming to go on forever, causing panic and calm alternately. It is a pain which heightens the senses, causing every glimmer of light to be blinding and ever stir of the breeze to be deafening. It is a pain that makes you aware of the blood beating a steady, constant path in your body.
And it is a pain that can make you appreciate things more than you thought possible. When in a state of great pain, every single relief is a blessing, a thing to rejoice over. The slightest chill in your arms make you smile as the heat of the pain eases for a moment. The feeling of calm that washes over you as you fall asleep makes you sigh with gratitude. The distraction a book offers makes you feel languid and serene as you concentrate on something outside of your pain. These things are what make bearable the knowledge that you live with a shadow of immense pain ready to pour over you at any given moment.