The other day one of the girls at the Children’s House asked me how high I could count in English. As I sat there trying to find a way to explain, in Hungarian, that I know how to count pretty high in English, the girl’s eyes got really big and she asked, “Can you count to 100?” I smiled and said, “Yes, I can count to 100.” My supreme counting abilities were met with awe as the kids tried to wrap their heads around the fact that I know how to count really high in another language—it was quite amusing.
Though I seemed smart to the kids at the House that morning, there are still, after 9 months of being here and getting a better handle on the language, many times where I feel stupid or worry that the people around me think I am dumb. Many times I have wanted to whip out my diplomas, resume, and awards and say, ‘Hey, look at all this. This says that I am not a complete idiot—I just struggle a lot with the language…’ It’s times like these where I want so badly to convey my intelligence, that I lose sight of what is really important here. Yeah, I may not be able to say all the things that pop into my head. Yeah, I may not be able to pronounce the vowels or words correctly, but I am trying my hardest every day. Rightly so, my diplomas, resume, and awards do not matter to these people.
I need to keep in mind that my education and intelligence has no influence on how I make the kids at the Children’s House feel when I am playing with them or how I can always make people smile just being there to smile at them first. Way beyond my education, what matters the most to the people I see every day is the simple fact that I am here every day. I am here, being present in community with all the fabulous people whom I have been become so close to over the past 9 months, and that is what is most important.