I am one of them…

This week I won’t write to you about something French but rather something that I experienced this week. Last Wednesday I had to go to Rotterdam. I arrived at Rotterdam station, after my 3 hours in the high speed train. Let me tell you what I realized…

Arriving at the Rotterdam station I descended into the station corridors. There I heard Dutch spoken with heavy accents. The accents were mostly Arabic. When I was a teenager I used to have a negative reaction to hearing these accents. I would stigmatize them with aggressive people or the negative prejudices I sometimes used to have about foreign groups.

Then I thought about my skills in French. They are very limited but I can do a simple meeting with colleagues now and manage my way around shops etc. However to the French a must sound heavily accented as well. I am now one of the foreign groups. Now I am the one needing to blend in. I am the one sometimes dealing with prejudices. I now understand more how hard it is to speak a foreign language, to blend in.

An apology on my side is all I can utter now towards all the prejudice I have had up till now. Now I understand more of what it feels like. Now I a foreigner in another country. Now I am one of them…