When the world goes silent

If you’ve even been thrown into a completely different country, with a completely different language, this may resonate with you.

In August 2008, I made a leap and moved to Switzerland to be an Au Pair for 4 young girls. It was a decision made on a bit of a whim but one that’s proved forever fruitful.

On days I reminisce, I come across things that I’ve forgotten to think about for a while and it pleases me so, that I have all these wonderful memories and that I can reach into my mind and re live them whenever I choose.

After a most amazing night out on Friday night with some lovely blogging gals the topic came up of learning languages in the car on the way home.

I shared my story with the girls, and now I’m sharing with you.

As mentioned above, I moved to Switzerland in August 2008, into a French speaking region, Lausanne. I had minimal French under my belt due to 3 years ‘learning’ French at high school and my friends and I ALWAYS proclaiming “As if we will ever need this” (well I’ve sure learnt NOT to say/think that again) So, I had about enough as to tell everybody what my name is, that I am an Au Pair and that I like the swimming pool and post office. So as awesome as my 3 sentences were, this didn’t really assist me with understanding or being able to do ANYTHING solo on my own without looking like I was in a game of charades. (I had to explain to someone that I went horse riding on my holidays one day early on in my travels, now you don’t need help with understanding how funny that looked, in the middle of a pub, all eyes on me…)

As you can imagine, the world turned very different, very quickly. I was scared shirtless at the beginning thinking I would most certainly freak out because I hardly knew a single word. How would I ever cope, was the main thought on my mind.

But then it happened… Peace happened, a kind of peace you would never ever think possible happened. The world was quiet..

It was such an enlightening experience, the fact that I couldn’t understand anyone, made life pretty sweet. I had time with my own thoughts, no one to interrupt. I had time to ponder every single thing, in my own time, because I could. I wasn’t subconsciously trying to listen to every conversation around me, as we do here, in our English speaking country, everyday, whether we realise it or not. I was just doing my thing, with only my own thoughts to worry about.

This immense calmness just enveloped me. And I was seriously on cloud 9. I would just wander around the city taking everything in, like I was a child, because I didn’t have words to distract me.

I learnt a lot about myself then, the internal conversations I had with were so amazing and un interrupted, sometimes I dream for that time again. Bliss.

My magically loud yet personally silent world came to a massive halt the day I started understanding. I remember those few weeks where my silent world was loudly interrupted, and it HURT, my brain was constantly buzzing, because I was picking up words here there and everywhere, and concentrating so hard on what the words were. I remember the constant headache I had, how I seemed to shy away from those city visits because it was just exhausting. How I would dream to go back to the apartment and sit there in proper silence because I couldn’t cope with this unnerving noise.

As the days went by this got progressively easier, the headaches subsided and the noise balanced out. This was all a result of it becoming easier to understand French and easier to speak it, it was slowly becoming the normal. It became the same crazy busy world as it is now for me in Melbourne and my silent world, was gone. Forever.

I’ll never forget those early days where I was a stranger in the world, where the silence eased me and soothed my soul, those few weeks I won’t experience again, but they will also, never leave my mind.

Tuesday = community love, linking in with Mrs IBOT herself, Jess at Diary of a SAHM

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29 thoughts on “When the world goes silent

  1. beautifully written! i am married to an aussie. while i call this amazing country home n consider myself aussie by now, i can relate thougb i didnt have the language barrier x following ur blog!

  2. I love this part of travelling. I haven’t ever been on my own though to truly enjoy that silence. Beautifully written 🙂

    Hello from #teamIBOT

  3. It is only been the last few years that I have really appreciated the silence that comes from living with your best friend and not having to say anything while speaking volumes to each other and having a grown up child who is either at uni or work, giving us peace and quiet. I do enjoy it !
    I loved your post and the images that it conjured up.
    Have the best day !
    Love, hugs and positive energy.
    Me

  4. My plan was to go to Switzerland after school, and someone talked me out of it. I really wished they hadn’t; I’m desperate to go there. I love languages and would love to learn them.

    • Oh Jess, i CANNOT recommend Switzerland highly enough, I rate it much much higher than London or anything like that. People looked at me strange when I said I was moving there. Its the most beautiful place in the world. No doubt. xx

  5. What a beautiful description. I often crave the “silence” that you described. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post, it gave me a little time for calm before my “noise” starts again.

  6. My husband and I went to Europe before we moved back to Australia (from the US) and we got to France and went “Oh fuck.” We couldn’t read anything, couldn’t communicate with others (not well so we didn’t really try). We were in our own little bubble. I loved that not being able to speak the language threw us together and we explored Paris, Florence, Rome, just the 2 of us. Was great. The whole world being silent would be wonderful for a while but so great that you picked up the language, too. What an experience!

    • That would of been amazing! Its funny how things like that can really change you. After I met J, when we traveled he did all the talking/translating, with his French, German, fair Italian under his belt.. I was still mute, he just talked to everyone xx

  7. I lived in Germany when I was 15 for 12 months having never learnt a word of German in my life! I remember the day I woke up and realised I had started to dream in German – it was the moment that the language all fell into place.

    • haha Kim, thats it, that moment when you DREAM it, so true! You know you’ve got it then. That must of been an amazing experience, and at 15! WOW! I’d like to hear more about that! x

  8. wow I love your view on it. I never thought of it that way. I have travelled all over europe and I never thought to just enjoy the silence. I speak a european language (macedonian) which did at times give me some clues to some of the things that were being said or written around me but mainly just made me more confused.

  9. I know exactly what you are talking about. For me, my world went silent when I came to Australia. I knew just a little bit of English, I had no friends, no family here… All my days were focussed on me until my husband came after work. It was a great experience!

  10. I have always wanted to learn a new language but the lazy girl inside me prevents that from happening. I love the way you have described this. I’m not sure though if I would enjoy it, I am the world’s biggest sticky-beak so it would have been killing me, absolutely killing me to not be able to understand everything that was being said around me.

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