No one speaks the language.
Every third word sounds close enough to English that you pantomime the rest.
Or you nod your head and pretend you understand.
Kind people try again and again – smiling in encouragement as you stumble through a conversation.
Small talk becomes too much work.
You’re the novelty in the room.
The foreign-exchange student.
Either everyone has a question for you, or they are as uncomfortable as you.
You go nowhere without being observed with interest – you’re automatically special..
Things don’t work for you.
The school bell rings and other kids pour onto the playground.
The news is complete gibberish, despite the frightening images.
The checker grabs a plastic bag impatiently after mumbling three times.
The phone chirps happily with fourteen voicemails – all in the native language.
The fire alarm blares overhead as you continue your dinner at a birthday celebration.
The other passengers leave after a PA announcement – you are left at a deserted gate.
Your sister/mother/husband are always apologizing to the person repeating “excuse me” behind you in the store aisle.
“Sorry, she can’t hear you. She’s deaf”.