Spanish is my mother tongue and my English is, I think, understandable.
Romance languages are very similar to one another so understanding a little bit of Italian, French and Portuguese is not hard... Greek and German? mneh... just a little little tiny bit.
Everything else, not a word. Or a curse word or two.
I've learned how annoying is to be standing in among people that speak the same language and not being able to understand what they say. Personally, I think is rude, incredibly rude. That's why I avoid doing it to others.
When you're in academia in a foreign country, the fact that you speak their official language is a given, because being able to speak such language was a requirement for YOU so THEY can help you issue a student visa right.
Someone will jump and say: the US doesn't have an official language... and all that crap, but in ACADEMIA, English is the official language in the United States of America, right???
Have I mentioned how much I dislike my thesis adviser?
This individual is not from the US, he comes from a country we'll call "FINA" (not because it rhymes with the real country, or anything like that) where all the "Fineses" speak "Fineese", ok? I don't want to generalize or stereotype BUT I'm pretty pissed at this guy so the best thing I can do is send him to another country in another planet.
Unfortunately for me... and my labmates. I'm the only one who doesn't come from "Fina".
And it's not that my other labmates are real... you know... bad or anything, but it's that they were born in that country so they speak that language. Get it? they come from the same country, get it? get it?
In the beginning of the movie, they're not that bad.
Anyway, my advisor brain thinks is normal to speak Finese in front of all the lab people, eve thought there's a small portion (me) that doesn't understand a word he's saying.
This little portion of the lab (yes, me) has mentioned time and time again how uncomfortable it is to be in the middle of a meeting and having to hear words from a language I don't understand.
The last conversation went a little something like this:
Ad: You have to understand, unlike you, English is not their mother tongue...
Me: English is not my mother tongue, I speak Spanish.
Oh... I thought they spoke English in Spain.
I'm not from Spain... I'm Co-lom-bian... also, they Speak SPANISH in SPAIN.
Well, your English is very good so, you have to bear with them
I can't bear with something I don't understand.
You are keeping yourself away from your labmates, that's not good.
... you're not helping by encouraging them to speak something different than English
NO, I'm noooooooooooooot going to learn Finese. I have a thesis to finish and defend, a job hunt in my hands, an Engineering diploma to homologue in a couple of months... and a life to put together so no, that's out of the question.
I reached the point where whenever they start speaking their own language I pick up my things and leave the room. That's how I protest.
I'm not part of any research project now, I'm working on my own stuff.
I'm not being paid by the advisor, I have a job somewhere around the university.
I just go to the lab because that's where the software I need is, no other reason.
I have a desk and a computer because the rules of the university say so. Otherwise I'm pretty sure that guy would have me working somewhere outside the building.
All of the other Finese are happily working with the Finese adviser and speak Finese in their Finese meetings. You can hear them on the other side of the wall, in the meeting room.
So... my little revenge, and I say little because it was little, but it tasted like heaven:
We were all in the lab, doing our stuff, then all of a sudden the adviser comes and shouts something in Finese.
All the Finese students stood up and left.
What happened? Nuclear bomb? Earthquake drill? Tornado warning?... free food?!?!?!
I stood still on my desk, thinking what to do, when I heard the head of the President of the Faculty Senate's voice (he's on my thesis committee) telling my adviser how important is to keep the meeting room and the lab in spotless clean conditions...
HA! Finese people are not exactly famous for being clean, let me tell you Mr. President-Man.
One of my labmates comes to me and says in a really loud and rude voice, so the adviser and the President can hear him:
"MAFE!! prof. **** just asked us to clean the meeting room and the lab, you are supposed to help us!!!"
I stood up and started walking next to him towards the door and replied in the loudest but sweetest voice that has ever left my lungs, so the adviser and Mr. President-dude see and hear what I said:
"I didn't hear that... you know what? I think he said that in a language I don't understand.
I don't think it was meant for me to comprehend what he said.
I don't think it'll be a good idea for me to help you guys. I don't want to upset him. I'll just leave you guys alone.
I'll be back later when you're done.
And took the morning off.
How do I know I didn't do anything TOO bad?
As I left, I got a *wink*wink* from my President-buddy and the adviser saw it.