The human experience is basically the same for all people everywhere. We are born, we die. We grow up, we grow old. We fall in love, we suffer heartbreak. We marry, we divorce. We learn to love God, we lose our faith in humanity. We have families, we shun marriage. We enjoy friends, we fight enemies. We share humour, we mourn the loss of loved ones. We suffer, bleed, heal, grow old, and hopefully gain wisdom somewhere along the way.
The details of our lives differ from person to person. We have individual strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Paul calls this our individual “packages”, but the whole experience of “being human” is universal.
I enjoy meeting people from around the world, knowing that although our individual preferences may be different, there is a common bond through the human experience. I don’t have to understand a single word of another’s language to appreciate that person’s joy or sorrow. If they laugh, I can share their laughter. If they weep, I can stand in comfort.
As I learn languages, I don’t just learn grammar and vocabulary. Yes, I do find the intellectual processes somewhat interesting. However, symbols and sounds present a rather sterile world by themselves. For me, the true joy of learning another languages comes as I learn to open my mind and heart to a new group of people whom I have not met.
It’s a gateway to new friendships.