Overcoming Language Barriers in Intercultural Relationships

I LOVE spending time together with Taiki. But sometimes it can be really trying, too. Having two completely different mother tongues doesn't help in those moments either. Especially when one/both of us are in horrendously foul moods. Like sweating balls while it's 40°C in Bali with our huge backpacks, searching for our hotel for two hours. Or trying to find some food while walking around absolutely starving, having forgotten to research the area beforehand. 

Backpacking through Europe was kind of extreme, since we were in each other's company almost 100% of the time, for over three months. (Obviously some moments were a little too personal to share.) We had thrown the idea of 'personal time' up in the air, but it usually turned into something like us listening to our separate music or reading books - and then we would start chatting again pretty quickly. So, it's no wonder we both got into bad moods fairly often. But we kept deciding to stick it out. 

Luckily Taiki is the one to keep the conversation going, when my stubborn side is usually quick to pull away. And he does it in English too. (Not to sound like his English is terrible - it is limited though, like my Japanese.) But it's really something that he tries hard with and never gives up. Making it incredibly easy for me usually... most of the time.

Other times, though, things can come out a bit wrong or skewed from what was originally meant to be said, and that's when things get challenging. At least for me, it's so easy to take what's said at face value because it was actually spoken out loud. But, loving someone means you want to understand where they may be coming from when they say or do certain things. Love is about reading between the lines, because people often hold back on the truth. "Sure, take the last piece! I didn't want it anyway." We've all been there, right?

So when tensions are high and something sounds like blame or an insult, it's a tad difficult to stop and think, "Why would he say that?" No, of course I want to take it to heart or bite back. But when this started to get a little too frequent, there had to be a breaking point. And there was. It's still a work in progress, but we both realized that we do want to find a middle ground and try to be more mindful of the other. Living normal lives where we're not connected to the hip 24/7 also helps.
Naps are also effective.

So, basically.. It's a little more difficult to have a more serious discussion (vs. couples who are both native speakers) but we both know we don't want to stop trying.




About Us!

Hey there! We're Taiki and Andrea - a Japanese/American couple who love traveling and learning about other people and cultures. We've been to India, Thailand, Korea, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece and Italy (as well as the US and Japan of course!)

We started a blog to preserve our memories while encouraging and motivating others to travel or learn English!

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