I rode in a van with my parents and other family members to my great-uncle’s funeral. Everyone spoke in our native language, Ilocano. I thought it was so fascinating to understand everything they were saying–even though I’m no longer surrounded by the dialect like I used to be when I was a kid. My aunt asked my mom in Ilocano, “Does she know what we’re talking about?”
I answered in English, “I can understand.” It’s inherent like it will always be part of me.
While I can understand everything they’re saying, I can’t speak it which separates me from friends who understand and speak Tagalog or Spanish. They can pass the skill down to their children. I cannot.
But for now, I love that I don’t have to ask my relatives to translate for me. I get it. I understand.