This last long weekend I was in Madrid, Spain. Well not in Madrid, but close.
So doing the same presentation, that’s easy. Although I need to be better this time – and my speaking should be good. Maybe, I should say: good enough. I’m never enough anyway. When I’m done, being good or great or perfect, then it’s time to move on to the next chapter with a new challenge.
So my session is not interested in this post – it’s all the things around the conference, that’s the really interesting to write about.
I came down there on Thursday evening. Found one old friend at the hotel, and a few new ones. Really nice, sitting there for an hour and eating some salad for dinner. And talk to these old and new friends.
As I always say: it’s a challenge.
Speaking with friends – new or old friends – is a challenge always – even in Swedish too. Now it’s in English… or actually, in Spaenglish.
Note – I have nothing nothing against Spain or Spanish people – they are all great! So that I now talk about Spanish/English is only because of this situation I was in this weekend. Could have been German, Dutch, French, or old Latin.
I’ve noted a few things about…
It is easier to talk and to understand them when they feel they are not great and English. Eh what?
Talking with someone who is great at English – it’s almost impossible to understand. Really??
Why is that? Why do I prefer bad English rather than good English speaking?
With my aphasia issue, I need to translate every word from a “sound” to a word. Which means it takes a few milliseconds for each word you say. I use the sound, the intonation, the mimics, your eyes, your hands, and so on. Every second.
So if you’re really good at English, and speak like fluent native English guy – then you are of course speaking faster.
When I have to translate from the general sounds into separated words, not just a long sentence, not a full paragraph.
I’ll hear you like this:
I would need, you know when you talk into a mic to get your secretary to write it down, like this:
But that’s impossible to listen to…
Actually, listening to American English is just as bad, or even worse. They know English, they are born with it, and they are with a bit different than posh English speaking. US are a bit lazer that the correctly speaking people. Many only know English, they own this language. I respect this totally.
Ok ok ok okay! This is only from my experience, I should not say about your whole country. I’m sorry if you’re insulted! You are not. You shouldn’t be. Just my thoughts, from my own issues that I just now live in this problem. Live with it. I live with it!
So, when I’m talking to friends from the US, I never hear any space. So much harder it is.
Actually, another parallel is that the “uh” sounds between words should be a space, but they are so afraid of being quiet (and probably lose the talking-stick and someone else starts to talk if you have been quiet for a half second – a space). It’s interesting… but too bad for me to understand.
Anyway – back to the lovely Spanish again.
If you feel a bit unsure about speaking in English, you may not produce the words in the exact correct way, but that’s a smaller problem. But you speak one word at a time. You find one word, say that, find next word, say that, and so on… For me, for my brain – I love you for that!
Being great at English may be another problem also… You really know English, but you only really know your native sounds. If I zone out a bit, and only half-listen, then your English only sounds like Spanish. But it is in English words. I know it is in English. But it is a not lot easier for me to lose what you really say.
It’s like a double-translation in my head. Or ever triple-translation.
In my brain comes the sound.
It may be the hardest translation could be to translate the Spanish sounds into English sounds.
Then the translation is continuing from English sounds to English words.
Finally translation from English words to Swedish words, or from Technical words.
I know, “Technical” is not a language. But it is. It’s a different thing, that IS an issue I know I have this today.
Usually I don’t need to translate to Swedish – English is my second language and we stop there.
You know, when you are also speaking fast, and you skip spaces… Wow. After a while, this happens:
The Saturday was fun. I didn’t attend at any other sessions, except a bit late to a session by Ana from Microsoft. For us as speakers, the main thing for us during the conference is to engage, to talk to people, to those we want to “help”, maybe the wrong word, to work better, and to be social.
For me, it’s a huge thing to talk during my session. Yes, I have come a long way back after my stroke and the aphasia I’m working with/against every day.
I had a huge stage and a few in the audience. Like I said after my session in Scotland: I did it!
It is great to do these things, I’m so extremely glad that I have the opportunity to speak like this.
Before I got the stroke, I like really to be out there and speaking.
After I got the stroke, I truly love to both speaking and learning every day, every minute I’m out there.
Meeting old friends and new friends means so much. Speaking to you, when we find some time to talk, and not just say “Hi, great to meet, I have to run, see ya!” and that’s all.
After my session, I’m always completely drained. For an hour, I basically just sat in the cafeteria. Then lunch time. A lot of people there, and I’m not ready for that. So I ate a bit, as much as I could, I know I need food… Then I lay down on a sofa in the cafeteria for half an hour. Then sat for another half-hour.
Now and then, people came up to me just because they wanted to say hi, ask a bit about this 1½ year I had, how’s it going now, and so on. That’s very very glad for me. To hear that you care about me. Why do you care, anyway…?
It’s kinda crazy actually, that people I have never met before – they care about me. That gives me a huge hope for the world. Big words, I know, silly. But still… Probably related to my blogging… I share, period.
A few hours after my session, my life came back to me. Phew! I was like 2 seconds from getting a taxi back to the hotel, I was half-dead, and the day was over. Looking back, I’m so glad that I stayed at this event.
The best of a conference is not being at the conference.
Later in the afternoon, four of us skipped some sessions and went out. Found a near place, in the shadows, and take a beer. Sitting there, without stress, just small-talking. I love that.
And yes, I have a silly focus on myself… They ask how I’m getting on. Those who have to meet me earlier this year, they let me know how much I have improved. I’m stunned by this. And so crazy glad to hear.
My family, my colleagues (kolligs) see me like every day, so it’s harder to really see the improvements. And I only feel that “I have more to fix!!”
I had time to explain about how I think about my problem, that I’m so fascinated by the brain is now working… and how it’s not working. I like to discuss with my friend, I love that I can discuss with them. That I really have this communication is working! In English! With these friends from USA, Romania (a couple + a cute kid, now living in England), and one from Netherlands. And me from Sweden.
This was a moment for me.
The best of a conference is after the conference.
We shared a taxi back to the hotel after the conference ended (and a few “after-beers” at the event area). I’m starting to feel a bit dead now again, so I thought I’d just get something for dinner at the hotel, and then go nap nap.
Something happened, and they said there was a close restaurant, and they’d just go to eat there. I changed myself, and I’d join them instead of going to my room and small-die a bit.
The three I joined were a known friend from England, and two new – one from Portugal (living in London now), one from Sweden (only until 3 years old), growing up in England, and now living in Spain. So a mix of us.
We had a great dinner, as well.
If they ever read this, they may not agree, but in my world, this time was definitely a Moment.
Why a Moment? Four totally random people and we are all interested in each other, really listening to what we all have to say. That’s unfortunately not so common to see, to be part of that.
It’s completely wrong as a Swedish to say that I see, I feel, I now know, that I’m valuable. I mean something. When they ask about my journey, my way to express my ideas, my experience, talking even about my soul. I try to twist the words the way I want them to say just what I want to share. Everything is related.
I urge to twist the words, I urge to invent new words when the existing ones don’t do enough. I will.
These hours we had was a truly Moment.
Many have asked me – “Why do you share?”
This journey I’m traveling on is interesting. It’s fascinating. We never know where I am going tomorrow… Exciting!! Get me the next episode!! It’s like slow-tv, or like when I was a kid. You just have to wait…
This is it for me, I mean.
Well, I could write in my diary… But I don’t have one. Oops.
Most, it’s there for me. But I really hope it can inspire other people who have had the same-ish problem as I have.