Twenty years ago today I met my wife to be. I spoke little Japanese, she spoke no English and had never met a foreigner before. In the days before text messages and mobile phones, arranging dinner on the phone was more a question of repeating a time and place over and over then hanging up and hoping. Everywhere we went we took a dictionary with us to help translate what we wanted to say and little by little we began to develop our own vocabulary, something we both understood but was, to all intents and purposes, unintelligible to others.
Now, twenty years later, we can look back at those times and be thankful we both made the effort to get through the difficult times and focus on the good ones. An international marriage brings its own set of problems, cultural misunderstandings and language barriers but as with any marriage patience and compromise will see you through. When she was late for dinner once, she came running up asking if I was angry. Me not understanding and she not knowing the English word for angry, she started to sign with little devil's horns. You can't help but laugh and life moves on.
I must admit, a mobile phone and text messaging would have helped though.