The Difference A Few Words Can Make

“Your life is the message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring.”

Many people find if pointless to learn the local language, especially in a touristic place like Nepal where many locals have been forced to learn English in order to provide for their western clientele. Here is the perfect example of why it is important to make at least a small effort to learn whatever you can of their language instead of just expecting them to learn yours.

Kevin and I stopped by a small village during our trek in order to buy some food. There were no obvious restaurants, just a cluster of a dozen or so houses, but a friendly local teenager pointed us in to one of the houses. Kevin went in first, and as he doesn’t speak any Nepali, he had the boy help him translate that we were looking for two meals. The women hardly looked up at him, but said she would make us some food. As we waited, she looked sour at the fact we were there, and didn’t say a word to us. Frankly, she was downright rude.

A puppy passed by her small shop and I jumped up to pet it. She looked at me confused (people here don’t think of dogs as pets) and in Nepali I explained that I like dogs, that this dog is my friend. She immediately smiled and laughed and explain (in Nepali), “You speak Nepali!” I said no no, only a little, but it seemed that my dozen or so sentences were more than enough. She quickly brought us tea, made us a delicious meal with extra sides and a special curd drink, and laughed and smiled at us throughout the meal. Her immediate change was astounding, from a grumpy and surly women to one wanting to please. It’s truly amazing how much of an impact learning the local language can have, because for one, you are then able to communicate, but even more apparently, because they see you are willing to make an effort.

One thought on “The Difference A Few Words Can Make

  1. That’s true. It’s very important to speak a bit of the language from the place you’re travelling to. I experienced this in France when really nice and old lady took me by the taxi to the place I was looking for, because I just started the conversation in French.

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