While at a local Sams Club this last week, I heard some woman talking almost identically to my foreign accented voice. “What is that sound?” I knew that accent, yet I was not speaking, so I had to find out more about this. I sought out the source and came upon a woman who appeared to be in her seventies that was speaking with anyone around as she tried to locate a particular item in the store.
I went up to offer a suggestion on where she might look and offered to walk her there. As we walked, I decided to be brave enough to ask the question that I get asked so often since this foreign accent came upon me. “Where are you from?”
She said that she had been born in Chezlovakia, raised in Germany and spoke a total of five different languages. That is why she sounded familiar to me. It was not one particular accent that I was detecting, but several. Then the funny thing happened, she asked me where I was from. Then came the disbelief that I had not travelled outside of the areas closest to the United States. She was intrigues by the aspects of Foreign Accent Syndrome. She said that she heard accents of some of the languages she spoke in my speech. But when I sang for her and I had my true Hoosier, all-American “real” voice, she had an open mouth of astonishment. Ha! the amazement continues.
We talked a bit about perception of others of our accents. Why is it that we Americans try to place a person’s speech into a cubbyhole by assuming that a person is from a certain area? I discussed with this lady named Marguerite, that I believe it is because we strive to relate with other people. When we hear a different sound… I think there is a part of us trying to figure out why that difference exists.Â When a person speaks shouldn’t they sound “normal” like us? If they do not, then it must mean they are from somewhere else, right? That must mean that they are a “foreigner”.
As this week has ticked by I am now at my seventh week with this foreign voice. I am a bit discouraged by the fact that I still sound “different,” because I miss my “real” voice. It makes me sad to realize that when my Sweetheart husband of nearly 25 years calls me on the phone during the day, I get to hear the same voice of the man I fell in love with all those years ago. However, when I return the conversation, he is hearing the tone and sounds of a voice that he has only heard for seven weeks.
Regardless, it was not because of my voice that we fell in love and have stayed together all these years. It is despite the unforseen calamities and trials, that our loving relationship endures. It is as we place our trust in the fact that God remains in control, even and especially when we are not in control, that is what keeps us pressing on.