The Subtlety of Language

museum sophie

Today’s guest post is by Robbie Frank. 

When I first left my home country (of the United States) and took a month-long trip across Europe, I experienced lots of feelings of adventure. I felt like a pioneer.

outside prado museum in madrid
Robbie with friends in Spain.

My friends and I started in Madrid, and after a long day visiting Spain’s beautiful museums, we heard our stomachs grumbling for food. We had one fluent Spanish speaker in our group of seven, but the rest of us were lucky to have made it through high school Spanish. Regardless, we weren’t going to let a silly thing like language stand in the way of our journey. We stopped by a local deli and ordered sandwiches to snack on. My friend Joe asked for a “hamon y queso sandwich” (ham and cheese sandwich.)

We waited for a few minutes while our meals were prepared. To Joe’s surprise they had prepared him two sandwiches; one with ham and one with cheese. What Joe really meant to order was a “mixto,” our translation didn’t correlate as accurately as we thought, but it did lead to a pretty humorous situation. Language has subtly and nuance. Communication is full of expressions that sometimes feel strange to foreigners. To truly assimilate yourself into a country, learning these often overlooked parts of language can save you from a potential miscommunication, like getting two sandwiches instead of one.

museum sophie
Robbie Frank.

This funny event happened during a month-long backpacking trip I took back in 2010. I recorded the entire journey, along with my various travels throughout my lifetime on to my YouTube Channel “Backpacking 2 Everywhere.” The idea behind my channel is simple. Many people want to travel and learn about the world but don’t necessarily have the budget to take a trip. Well, through the glory that is the “interwebs,” now they can. The world is much smaller than ever before. You can travel to places like Rome, London, New York and San Francisco in minutes and learn what makes these places so special. Along with traveling, I do videos on topics I feel are important (immigration, climate change, the war on drugs.) I hope that you check out my channel, and enjoy my favorite quote: “Life is like a book, and those that don’t travel only get to read one page.”

Bio: Robbie Frank is the founder of a YouTube channel called Backpacking 2 Everywhere. Follow Robbie’s adventures on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

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