The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

I Want To Tell You Something Beautiful.

After a few weeks practicing my Turkish with various strangers, I’m pleased with my progress–but overwhelmed by how much I still have to learn. Smiling helps. Smiling helps me make inroads, though I’m unintentionally cracking people up all the time.

I await the day when I can be funny on purpose. When I feel like the person speaking is actually me. When I can say something true, something weighty, something lovely.

I know about half the words on this table. What I don’t know, I don’t eat.

“We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, with all manner of beautiful and profound things to say, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener’s aunt is in the house.”

-W. Somerset Maugham. The Moon and Sixpence.

43 comments on “I Want To Tell You Something Beautiful.

  1. The Presents of Presence
    August 20, 2012

    Smiling is a universal language all its own…I know you already know this, but just wanted to reiterate it! Sending a smile to you! πŸ™‚

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 20, 2012

      Thanks so much! Sometimes here the smile means people follow me off the metro to chat, but I am my mother’s daughter! Can’t help it! πŸ™‚

  2. Clanmother
    August 20, 2012

    What a wonderful adventure!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 20, 2012

      It has been a wonderful journey. Someday I hope it consists of stories longer than two paragraphs–and that it has a happy ending. πŸ™‚

      • Clanmother
        August 20, 2012

        You are on the right path and that makes all the difference!

  3. rachaelhanel
    August 20, 2012

    Lovely!

  4. Arindam
    August 20, 2012

    Beautiful post with thoughtful words. πŸ™‚

  5. earthriderjudyberman
    August 20, 2012

    Lovely post and photos. Best wishes on learning Turkish. I can relate to W. Somerset Maugham’s quote. I know how to say “The cat is on the table” in two languages, but I’ve never had a reason to actually say it. πŸ™‚
    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 22, 2012

      Yes, some of the first sentences I learned in Turkish were, “The man is on the car. The man is in the car. The man is under the car.” Perhaps useful in a serious accident, but under pressure I have no doubt that would have slipped my mind. Hehe. Nice to meet you!

  6. suitablefish
    August 20, 2012

    great quote from Moon and Sixpence (one of my favorite novels). I like this quote from e.e. cummings: β€œThe most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” ~e.e. cummings, I think it’s the same with smiles. Laughter and smiles – the universal language.

    I really like your blog name. And thanks for visiting my blog and subscribing. Glad to have found on your travels.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 22, 2012

      Learning a language is really humbling, and usually the laughter I’ve been inspiring here in Turkey is very good-natured laughter. Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

  7. ShimonZ
    August 21, 2012

    I like this post. Very well said. Usually, I like a serious conversation more than a smile. Nice to meet you.

  8. Md. Alsanda
    August 21, 2012

    Thanks for passing by.

  9. marcussam
    August 22, 2012

    haha good one..!

  10. Subhan Zein
    August 22, 2012

    Practicing a foreign language ith various strangers, I like the idea. You must’ve got strong motivation and determination to do that. Oh, yes, this reminds me of something. You may want to read my story, ‘Sentot just wants to Speak English’ πŸ™‚

    Thank you and many blessings to you.

    Namaste,
    Subhan Zein

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 22, 2012

      I’ll check that out! Thanks for the recommendation. Somehow in another language, I am less shy with strangers!

  11. restlessjo
    August 24, 2012

    I so sympathise- my tongue is completely out of control when I try to speak Polish. I admire that you’re rising to the challenge. Nice to meet you.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 24, 2012

      Nice to meet you too! Languages aren’t really my gift, but it’s been a rather important exercise in humility!

  12. turkischland
    August 25, 2012

    Reblogged this on turkischland.

  13. feelingchipper
    August 26, 2012

    It’s always a nice experience practicing languages on strangers. I, too, love the way people are so forgiving and recognise that you are trying. Thank you for visiting my blog!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      August 26, 2012

      Yes, the Turkish people have been really generous and patient with my ceaseless errors. Thanks to you as well. It’s nice to find other blogs that accentuate the positive!

  14. ParentingIsFunny
    August 26, 2012

    What a nice idea for a blog!

  15. Kathy
    September 3, 2012

    Thank you for telling me something beautiful in English. Your post has set the tone for the day ahead.

  16. Jenny's Serendipity
    September 3, 2012

    Nice adventure and thank you for stopping by my blog!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 3, 2012

      Thanks! Thanks for visiting back. I’m sure we’ll be commuting to each other’s blogs often!

      • Jenny's Serendipity
        September 3, 2012

        Your welcome πŸ™‚ You will definitely be seeing me πŸ˜‰

  17. Jane Catherine Rozek
    September 4, 2012

    In Mexico with poor Spanish pronunciation, I once ordered a bowl of eyeball soup instead of garlic soup! “Sopa de ajo” became “sopa de ojo” or something like that. The waiter, tried to keep a straight face and then when I earnestly wanted to know what I had said, he diplomatically told me. A strong friendship was bonded and a year later he came to Canada to visit and ended up living with our family for 6 months! Thanks for checking out my blog and I’ll be visiting you here.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 4, 2012

      That’s amazing! I’m glad they didn’t give you what you asked for anyway. πŸ™‚ I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes–speaking and otherwise. Thanks for coming by and I’ll visit back.

  18. Carl D'Agostino
    September 17, 2012

    smile – that’s how you must have found my blog. Thanks for visit.

  19. Enchanted Seashells
    September 17, 2012

    What a lovely, lovely blog you have! And thanks for visiting mine.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 17, 2012

      Thanks so much! I’m happy that you came for a visit. I’ll be back to read your adventures as well!

  20. artzent
    September 18, 2012

    This is a very difficult problem: learning a new language buthaving people all around speaking it will help. Sounds like a great sdventure. thank you for the visit and the chance to visit you! Your blog is great!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 18, 2012

      Thanks so much! Learning a language is always humbling, but it’s one of the most excellent impossible things. πŸ™‚ People have a chance to be merciful with those who can’t speak, and the speaker gets a chance to practice. Good for all! Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll visit again.

  21. Pingback: The Top Ten Search Terms: Seek and Ye Shall Find | The Nice Thing About Strangers

  22. thenicethingaboutstrangers
    October 29, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Nice Thing About Strangers and commented:

    Now sure why, but I’ve had a lot of clicks on this story today. Since I’m also having serious internet issues at the apartment I’m renting this week–photos timeout instead of uploading–I thought I’d share this one one more. In many ways, the sentiment still holds. πŸ™‚
    -Paige

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