We often hear about how hard it is to be articulate in a foreign language, but when I began to study Arabic, what took me a long time to learn was not how to speak but how to listen.
Looking back, I see that my inability to listen well cost me my first love.
The man I loved was an Iraqi doctor. Young like me, he had been forced out of his country by war and had come to Syria to work in a refugee camp. This was in 2008, before the revolution.
I was in Syria to study Arabic. We met in that camp, and for the next year we were constantly falling in and out of love, breaking up and getting back together, pouring out our hearts and fighting, mostly because of all he wanted to tell me was that I didn’t understand.
A must read on what’s lost in translation, but the beauty of continuous learning from relationships: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/13/fashion/modern-love-grappling-with-the-language-of-love.html?_r=0