Home is where you speak the language
I love traveling, but I’ve never been a natural linguist. During my first year in Prague, my best friend from Virginia and I got by communicating in Czech by pooling our resources. I was the brains behind the operation; she was the voice. When we stopped at a kiosk or ordered in a restaurant, I thumbed through my guidebook for appropriate survival Czech phrases. My friend Brooke could then reproduce the phrase. Within weeks of arrival, Brooke was comfortable using Czech to make her way through the city and communicate with her students. Czechs, including Radek, complimented her accent and told her she spoke like a native, or at least like a Moravian. Meanwhile, I was stuck in self-imposed silence. Guidebook in hand, I was paralyzed by fear of mispronouncing something and facing embarrassment.