TRAVEL – Giggling

The Power of Giggling

There are approximately 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. Many people in the world speak English, but there are also many people who do not. What happens when you meet a person who does not speak the same language you do? I have often said that charades is the universal language. Charades is the use of hand gestures. Many people will use hand gestures to convey their message.

I found another universal language: giggling. Giggling is a form of laughter. It is a silly laugh. It is a light laugh. Giggling is fun. I can think of two moments in my life when I could not use my verbal language, but a mix of charades (hand gestures) and giggling provided conversation between myself and new friends.

Many years ago, I traveled to Egypt. As a souvenir, my friend and I wanted henna tattoos. A man in a restaurant recommended his sister in his hometown. He said that she designed beautiful henna tattoos. We visited her home and discovered that she didn’t speak one word of English. I only spoke 10 words of Arabic. However, we had a wonderful evening getting tattoos, drinking tea, and giggling. It was very fun!

Recently, I was at a bank in Japan. I had to send money internationally. The conversation should have been a very technical and professional. However, the bank teller spoke and wrote Japanese and although I know about 25 words in Japanese, I could not speak about banking transactions. We survived the transaction through a series of computer translations and giggling. We giggled about the errors of the computer translators. We giggled about our handwriting in each other’s language. We made many mistakes, giggled about our mistakes, corrected our mistakes and moved forward with our business transaction. It was a long process, but it was fun and we finished our transaction with smiles on our faces.

In both moments, it would have been easier if we had all spoken the same language. It would have been easier if they spoke English or if I spoke Arabic or Japanese, but charades and giggling made our “conversations” fun and productive.


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