Polyglot Gathering finished a few days ago. My certificate of attendance came on Thursday. It seems that this chapter is closed, at least for this year. I, however, do not want to close it, and neither do, apparently, many others.
The certificate is just a few kB of data on your hard drive but also a symbol of something more. It is a reminder of the days we, polyglots, spent together, all the talks and language exchanges we had. It looks so standard, like a certificate issued after a boring corporate training, but that could not be further from the reality of the meeting. Karaoke, disco, bar, late-night laughs and a few tears. How is it possible that something that may look like a boring workshop is not a grey, mundane meeting? There is a simple reason.
Being a polyglot is a lifestyle. It is not about going to a meeting once a year. It is about your every day which is filled with languages, connecting with people and being an explorer of life. It is not about the number of languages. Some speak ten or more, but this is not the most important thing. Your three are enough. It is not about the number, it is about the attitude.
A polyglot is a person with passion. You fill your life with languages. Build your character with each obstacle you overcome! Seek more challenges and create a multilanguage universe around you! That is what drives polyglots. The passions for more, for exploration, for the beauty of linguistic human expression. And this comes in as many shapes and colours as humans do.
Many are extroverts who just race to meet new people. A lot of us are introverts connecting in a much more quiet way. Some love to talk, others prefer reading books. You can even be a weird mixture of both!
The Gathering helped me discover this weird fact about myself. A mixture of both an introvert and an extrovert. I love being alone in a quiet room. A good book and a whole day without anybody sounds like paradise to me. On the other hand, I long to be with others, people I know and like. I need contact, need good deep talks, a strong hug from a friend. It is not easy for me, sometimes all my body refuses to go out and meet people. Luckily, languages help.
I hate, despise, and loath small talk. I cannot do it in my mother tongue! In any other language, however, I manage. Why? Learning them, the endless short dialogues in all the textbooks! I’ve learnt the language of small talk from learning languages. Wow! It is still difficult and, to be honest, tiresome but I can do it.
If you are not a polyglot, you do not have to be. Just take one thing. Have a passion, something to make your life colourful. I had some ups and downs in life and at the Gathering. Even the “downs” are not that bad with the right people around you. Later they can turn into good memories.
I am still on the top of the wave of enthusiasm. I bet more “ups and downs” are coming. I am sure that the polyglot lifestyle will make the future easier. I want to be more open, let others help me and help myself when I can. Let us be polyglots all year round!