Language barriers can be difficult and many times frustrating when you’re trying to communicate with someone that speaks another language. I’ve found that the most important element to communicating is to be incredibly humble. Don’t expect that the people you interact with will know how to speak your language– knowing a few useful phrases was important because a little effort can go a long way when it comes to communicating with others.
Friends Turned Planners.
While she’s not an event organizer by profession, my friend Julia is really great at bringing people together and coordinating plans. She took the reins when it came to planning and scheduling the logistics around our weekend in Provence including transportation, hotel rooms and dinner reservations.
And as it turned out, our French friend Henri was also a natural planner. A friend who works at at our favorite Napa winery, he happened to be back home in France during our visit so he toured us around for two days in his hometown of Gigondas and current city of Nimes. Henri was an incredible tour guide, kept everyone on time and had extremely specific suggestions on everything related to our stay to make it as authentic as possible.
Having a vegetarian in the group meant we had to take menus into consideration for each of our meals out and ensured there were vegetarian options for her. (As it turned out, at almost every swanky restaurant, their answer to that was “risotto!”).
C’est La Vie!
In life, things don’t always go exactly according to plan. Toward the end of our incredible trip, I lost my wallet, (which included my passport, license, credit cards and cash). I couldn’t leave the country and missed my flight because not only was the U.S. Embassy closed on weekends, they recognized Columbus Day and Monday, it was also closed. It took a lot of effort and planning to get everything settled with the Embassy to issue my emergency passport, but the experience was somewhat simple because I came completely prepared with all my paperwork and information filled out. I controlled what I could (getting my paperwork together), and left the rest up to fate. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and when life hands you lemons– enjoy your extra couple days in Paris!
Are you the one in your group of friends who would organize a well-planned trip in the South of France? Are you the one who ensures that you are well-prepared for language barriers? Are you the one who loses your passport? You might have skills of an event organizer, whether you know it or not. Where are those skills going to take you next?
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