Jane Macdougall: When English is all you have
Mastering another language besides one’s own is and will always be an asset.
In the house next door to me, two of five people don’t speak English.
They are immensely gracious. We have histrionic conversations on limited topics and exchange various delicacies with one another. I suspect they throw my offerings out and I admit many of their unfamiliar pastries end up expiring in my fridge. But it’s the thought that counts.
When I was living in Greenwich, Conn., I discovered that English wasn’t spoken in many of the surrounding communities. I was mildly surprised: after all, this part of the world is known as New England. I remember, however, being astounded when trying to buy a stockpot at Macy’s in Stamford, Conn., that the sales clerk spoke only Spanish.
I’m writing this from northern California. A housekeeper just knocked at my door and nicely asked me if I wanted turndown service. I didn’t, but I did…
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