My first job was with DHL. I lasted about a year. The department was Service Desk Analyst or some people might refer as The Customer Service.

I actually was quite fond of my job. I had the best colleagues, my boss was flexible, the food was nice and I never complain about the money.

I had everything!

I took the job because it’s the only way I could speak Spanish to someone. I had my beloved colleagues. They’re a mix bunch. Some are from Philippines, Peru, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, all over South and Central America. At that time I even dreamed in Spanish and I love that I got the opportunity for growth and improvement at the tips of my tongue every single day.

You might not be aware but it took real determination to swim against the current. I could have let it slipped away. It would not cost me anything. All I did was to forget to practice and the weight of the problem will wash away.

But I didn’t and it kills me when I cannot be better.

As for now, I can’t because I resigned. I had the simplest reason why. I can’t stand 500 calls per day. I can’t stand repeating the same spiel every single time. I don’t think the customers are always right. They’re not and they’re dumb and I don’t care if their parcel was late for 2 hours.

The job is not for me. I struggled to be nice over and over again. I could be nice on purpose, you see. It’s just that I hate repeating things. I hate routines.

Later, it got to me pretty bad. I jumped at the ringing of my own phone. I had nightmares of emergency calls about packages lost at the sea. I said ‘Thank you for calling DHL Helpdesk‘ to my mother. I crave for sunlight because of the time difference. Trust me, you are not yourself when you don’t get enough sleep at night.

Still I fight. I want to be able to speak this language so bad but it’s so damn hard.

I was born in Malaysia. My mother tongue is Malay. Everyone in my family speaks Malay. I can easily manage speaking English because it’s everywhere but Spanish…why do I have to try so hard to speak a language where no one I know would use it for communication? Not only that, none of my friends were interested in learning or perfecting a foreign language skills that they have no need for. Also, almost 99.9% jobs in Malaysia will not require me to speak Spanish.

Why bother?

¿Por qué? ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué?

Why did I spend countless nights reading out loud so that my tongue would be familiar with the rolling of the R and the lisp of my C and Z? Why do I download books and listen to Spanish clips on Youtube? Why do I even bother reading Spanish news online?

It’s weird to say this but Spanish keeps my sanity, teaches me more about life and how to untangle my feelings.

Like I have this another hidden identity emerging just by switching my grammar and vocabulary.

And I love this Spanish me. You might not realize it if you’re born speaking Spanish or married to a Spanish speaker or staying in a place where everyone around you speaks Spanish (I am so jealous of you!) but I can only count on my own resources and my unwavering (*scoff*) discipline.

I know it’s not enough but I try and if I can’t today then tomorrow and the days after that. I can only hope that there will come another time that my tongue will be the one who saves me.

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