As you can probably tell from my About Me page, I am a polyglot. I have a natural penchant for learning foreign languages. I was born and raised in South-Eastern Europe, in a small country called Albania, and was exposed to diverse languages and cultures at a young age. There have been numerous studies that emphasize the positive effect of bilingualism in cognitive functions of the brain.
However, in all honesty, my natural penchant for foreign languages can be attributed to a simple explanation, my desire to connect with people. I distinctly remember one example when I put my language super-powers to good use. In 2009, I visited Greece. The picture below was taken at Lake Prespa shared by three Balkan countries: Albania, Greece and Macedonia.
I overheard a group of tourists, six men and women frantically gazing at a map to gain some sense of geographical direction, speaking a language that sounded like either Italian or Spanish. As I approached them closer, I realized that they were, indeed, speaking Italian. As soon as I uttered “good morning” in Italian, their faces shined with a sight of relief. Then, something magical happened. We instantly connected! From complete strangers, we had become acquaintances, and perhaps, one day, even friends. At that point, the translation process was the following: Greek (Greek native speaking to my husband) to English (my husband translating from Greek to English) to Italian ( I was translating from English to Italian). This simple anecdote reinforces the idea that language is truly a powerful tool that creates seamless human connections.