You never really appreciate your own language until you are suddenly lost in translation, and in my case, lost on the soccer field.
When I thought about joining the club soccer team at my University here in Barcelona I knew it wouldn't be easy. First of all, it's always hard being the new girl on a team. I was anxious that these girls would not like my style of play or in general just not accept the "American girl from the Jersey Shore".
After my first practice, I realized that these would be the least of my worries. I like to think that I am a semi-advanced Spanish speaker, but Catalan is a whole different story. Mostly all of the 20 girls on the team speak Castellano but when Pat, our coach, is describing drills she of course speaks in Catalan. Afterwards I get a brief and struggled attempt at a translation by one of the girls who are brave enough to practice their English. (I really appreciate the effort though.)
Needless to say, communicating is not easy. I have realized that fortunately humor and food is universal across cultures. Of course knowing a little Spanish is a big help, but also all the girls think the Jersey Shore is hilarious and they were just as excited to get McFlurries to celebrate our games in Girona as I was I'm looking forward to playing in the championship finals this week! Let's go Pompeu!
Samantha Cicconi, University of Richmond