Bigger things to blame

As a second-language speaker, it is very tempting to consider my lack of fluency in the language as the root of every possible problem around me. Well, language is a significant part of communication, and it is very challenging to get anything done without proper communication. However, over time, I realised that thinking in this way could cause way more problems than the language issue itself.

Severe and significant obstacles such as language or culture can hide all the small-but-valid problems. For example, if I fail a job interview, it’s easy for me to blame my language skills for the result, when countless other factors may have affected the outcome. But it is hard to acknowledge those small-but-real problems when there’s a huge problem I need to deal with. It’s something like when the mountain covers the sun, the shadow of a tree disappears.

Usually, those smaller problems appear when the big barrier is gone. And often that’s depressing because the last thing you want to see after solving a huge problem is many other smaller problems. I assume many immigrants went through this process. When you are in an unstable visa situation, everything else is sort of secondary. Getting a job, starting a family, buying a house, are all uncertain when there is a visa problem. And in that situation, it’s easy to blame visa issues for almost everything and use them as an excuse to postpone all the important decisions.

Diagnosing the problem itself certainly won’t solve it, but I’d like to think it’s progress. For me, I feel I realised it too late. But honestly, I’m not sure if I would have done anything differently if I had realised it earlier. Maybe it’s just a matter of hindsight.