language barrier? thank God for j-beibs

20 Jan

If I’ve learned anything this week it’s that no matter what language you speak or how big the language barrier is… everyone knows who Justin Beiber is…. or how to play volleyball… or how to dance gangnam style. Seriously if you know one of those three things you are set for life, traveling, language barriers, etc. Tested and proved: Cambodia 2013.

I’ve had way too much fun here in Cambodia. Never thought I’d say this but I am so thankful for Justin Beiber. I sang Justin Beiber with beautiful girls. One of the few English songs everyone knows the words to. I towered over everyone in a community volleyball match. Not gonna lie everyone wanted me on their team… because I was a foot taller than most. I danced like none other, probably looked like uncoordinated fool, but it was a blast.

But by far the best way to connect is through laughter. I’ve found laughter is the absolutely wonderful. Laughter breaks down walls, melts fear. Laughter makes memories. Laughter help push through pain. Laughter builds hope. Laughter is the most beautiful quality you could have. I don’t even know these people but they are right on about laughter:

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities // Jean Houston

So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter // Gordon W. Allport

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people // Victor Borge

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones // Proverbs 17:22

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance // Ecclesiastes 3:4

In Cambodia I’ve gotten wonderful opportunities to interact with hotel staff, tuktuk drivers, waiters, kids, leaders and members of organizations, strangers (sorry mom). Even if we don’t speak the same language we both know how to smile and laugh.  I can not tell you how many times I made the “silly American” move. Embarrassing? Yes. Laughter was involved? Yes. Oh Chinese tourists took multiple photos of me? Yes. Connections made? Yes. Was it worth? Heck yes, every second of it. I met people who had a lot of reasons to be angry, but choose to enjoy a good moment and laugh. And oh my dear Lord they had the most beautiful laugh. Those are the memories I will cherish forever. Those are the moments that impacted me the most. No lie, my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing.

This is my favorite commercial. Of all time.
You should probably watch it again 🙂


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