Maybe something else entirely different was going on

When I had to move 20 years ago I called a bunch of places and checked out a couple in person. They didn’t work out for various reasons and then I called one that looked promising in the classified ads (newspaper). I called and a woman answered. She had a thick Asian accent. That’s just the way it was. No judgements. It was so hard to understand her that I started to get mad because the place looked so good in the paper but I was ready to lose it because I had no idea what she was saying and I was either going to say something in anger or just hang up.

But I finally understood that she was giving me directions. I went to see the place that night or the next. I met the lady, a cute petite woman in her late thirties (I was in my late thirties at the time) and we talked and she was a little easier to talk to in person. She seemed nice, I got a good first impression meeting her in person. I got the place and moved in with 6 other tenants in our own rooms.

She had the garage in front of the house which she lived in. But she was still hard to understand but I figured that it was not fun for her either not to be understood so I was patient as possible and always made a point of listening carefully and we got along fine. In fact my first impression was right and she was very nice. I lived there 4 1/2 years and talked to her at least once every two weeks or saw her. The whole time I always listened carefully. But just lately, I’ve been thinking about her. Did she really care about my effort I wonder? Or was she secretly laughing because the onus was upon me to hear what she had to say and maybe she didn’t care if I understood or not? I always thought I was being kind but now I wonder.


Seems like she cared, since she was impressed enough to let you move onto her property, and stay there for 4 1/2 years.

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My Dad had a very thick accent and I’m sure he was very appreciative of people who listened patiently. I also knew a stutterer with a similar problem of being difficult to understand. My Dad would get angry, but he was angry at himself because he could not pronounce a lot of English sounds. You did right, @77nick77.


My mom has a pretty strong accent despite having lived in the US for more than 50 years. Her English grammar is perfect, but she still has an accent and it gets worse if she gets flustered. She always appreciates it when people are patient with her and if they’re polite if they need to ask her to repeat herself.


When I am in foreign countries trying to speak a foreign language, it can be exhausting both trying to be understood and going for a long time without being understood. I always feel so self-conscious and like I’m inconveniencing everyone I try to communicate with.

I am always so grateful to anyone who takes the time to listen and talk to me, and I feel so good about myself when they understand and don’t appear to be frustrated or wishing they were some place else.

Unless your landlady was a strange person indeed, I’m confident she appreciated getting the opportunity to speak with a friendly listener.

You’re a good egg, Nick.


I used to teach an adult English speaking class as a volunteer. There was an old Asian lady there who never spoke a word because, according to another Asian student, she was embarrassed that she would not be understood. Seriously, she didn’t say a single word, only participated in the written activities and followed long with the reading. Her handwriting was the best I have ever seen. I wish she had said something. I would have listened.

I remember a deaf woman coming into a restaurant I worked at as a teen, and the other cashier was rude to her and kept saying he couldn’t understand her. I motioned her over to me and signed hi and my name. Assuming she read lips, I asked her to point to what she wanted. She did, then she reached over the counter and shook my hand and said thank you. Everyone wants to be understood. I have no doubt that your landlord appreciated it.


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