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Have you ever felt like you can’t continue?
Have you ever felt like you can’t continue?

Have you ever been in a situation when you think you can’t go on?  Sometimes, no matter how much stress is thrown at you, speaking another language can make the situation so much easier.  Whether you want to learn Spanish or English, your skill will make a difference.

3 years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to take a big leap in our lives and move from Zanzibar to Gran Canaria.  We were really excited but also apprehensive about our pets.  We had acquired a dog called Jua (Swahili for Sunshine) and a cat called Paka (Swahili for, well, cat).  They had become part of our family and we just couldn’t leave them.

The initial stress was our local vet, he seemed to know what he was doing, but told us he had learnt his skill through reading books!!  The animals were vaccinated, microchipped, poked and prodded then we had to wait!  Four months exactly!

Boyfriend left the island before me so he could set up our new lives on Gran Canaria.  I had to wait with the animals!  The plan was to fly with Emirates but after weeks, months and numerous telephone calls, I was getting nowhere.  The ‘straw that broke the donkey’s back’ was when Emirates asked my what type of dog I had and what type of cat I had.  This was one week before we were due to leave, I had no other choice but to give up on them!

I was at my wits end when I remembered a friend of mine had left the island with her cat with Jet Air Fly.  I contacted the airline and could have kissed the person on the telephone.  ‘Yes, you can fly direct from Zanzibar to Brussels, then Brussels to Gran Canaria, there is space, just book your flight and then click on one dog, one cat’.  This was too easy!  So, I went online, but oh no, POWER CUT.  With laptop under my arm, I dashed round to a neighbour’s house who had a generator and finally booked our flights!

Our leaving date finally arrived.  We had been coaxing Jua and Paka into their transport boxes for weeks, but when it was time to go they were having none of it!!  Firstly we wrestled Paka into his box and he was not happy, what a noise!!  Then Jua, she wasn’t so bad and just looked around quite content wondering where she was going.

Now it was time to check in with Rama’s paperwork, I didn’t have much faith in these ‘mickey mouse’ documents, but we got through and the crew wheeled off Jua and Paka to board the flight.  I was petrified!  When I boarded the flight, I asked the crew if my pets were on board.  ‘Oh yes, a dog and a cat, I love animals’ one member told me.  And off we went.  9 hours of wondering if they were ok, we finally landed in Brussels.  Firstly my suitcase came through – broken, then as I wondered where my animals were I heard Paka!  Two airport staff wheeled them towards me as the noise got louder and louder.  I looked at them and they were so stressed – at this point I just thought to myself, I can’t do this, I can’t go on, what am I going to do!!  I made my way to get a taxi as we were staying in a pet friendly hotel until our next flight. Paka was still kicking off when were finally got to our room.  I let Jua out for a pee and cleaned Paka’s box, then took Jua out for several more pees, watched some TV and we all finally fell asleep.

At 3 in the morning we were off again.  Paka was in his box but I had to try and get Jua back in hers, she was quite reluctant to go in and I was getting more and more stressed.  Then the taxi driver came over and asked me ‘what kind of dog is that?’ I explained we had travelled from Zanzibar and she was an African rescue dog.  ‘Oh yes I recognise that type of dog, I’m from Uganda, do you speak Swahili’ I nearly wept with relief.  On the way to the airport we spoke in Swahili which made me forget about my awful journey, my poor animals and my broken suitcase.  That’s how important, and wonderful learning languages can be!

When we reached the airport, again with my mickey mouse paperwork. The check in staff looked at it and passed it around, probably laughed at it too.  They said we were good to go and two very nice gentlemen came and wheeled off my poor pets.  As the noise of Paka disappeared, I thought, I’ve done it, I’ve got through this horrific journey.

Our flight from Brussels to Gran Canaria was thankfully short and we arrived in no time.  I disembarked and went to collect my luggage, out came my broken suitcase.  I thought, where are Jua and Paka, then I heard it, Paka MEOOOOWWW.  I turned around to another carousel and saw two guys give me a thumbs up and push my amazing, brave animals toward me.  Fantastic!  Welcome to Gran Canaria!!

I would love to know when your second language skill has made your day!!


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Cada semana compartimos consejos gratuitos sobre aprender idiomas, tips y recomendaciones sobre Gran Canaria, hablamos de nuestros viajes por el mundo y, además, yo personalmente hablo sobre las enseñanzas que me da la vida.

Como siempre, también tenemos una sorpresa para ti: Inscríbete en nuestra newsletter y recibirás nuestra guía gratuita con los 5 tips para mejorar tu inglés.