From Ashley, a WEC Trekker in Asia
So, I’m beginning to speak like a baby. It is ridiculously exciting to understand one word in a conversation or recognize a new letter on street signs! Combined with the English I use with my friends, I understand about ten percent of the words I hear each day. Imagine this; it includes those who you overhear talking on their cell-phones, the kids playing in the neighborhood, the classes you are in and your coworkers. This has been one of the most frustrating parts of being here. I expected, after a time, to have conversations with people that lived here—getting to know them and hearing their stories. Even when things are translated you don’t quite get the full picture because you don’t fully understand the culture, not to mention the background of the conversation. At least at home you know the culture. But here when people talk about something like the government, or a celebrity, or buying biscuits, you don’t know why it’s funny, or serious or weird. I am spending a lot of time in silence or asking questions.