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“Yah, I think she wears that shirt just to make her butt look better,” one said with an Indian accent as thick as the Himalayan Mountain Belt. The other nodded in agreement, “I’ve seen her when she wears shorter shirts, she looks completely different.” This one spoke with a Russian accent that I had a hard time understanding.
I was sitting on the last metro of the night, and I had just taken off my headphones because the two individuals sitting across from me appeared to be making some sort of comments in my direction, and of course, I wanted to hear what they were saying.
I discovered they were not talking about me, but were indeed talking about someone. After discussing the girl who looked better with longer shirts, they switched to Sarah, who was definitely not a good match for that guy from the Physics department.
I was intrigued, partly because they were speaking in English, but more because, as I strained to understand their heavily accented and fractured words and phrases, I was in awe of how well they understood each other! It was also interesting to see how guys talk about girls when they don’t think anyone can hear them. They sounded more like two high school cheerleaders than two grad students at EPFL. I suppressed a smile as I heard one say, “I know, I was shocked when I saw them making out after class!”
I could tell that they were speaking freely because they [wrongly] assumed no one would understand English. As it became more and more difficult to hide the fact that I was listening in on their conversation, I decided to take action. I had a plan.
Taking out my phone, I dialed Mom. A simple, short conversation in English would do the trick.
I smiled at them as their jaws dropped when they heard me speak English. They both gave each other a wide-eyed look. I told Mom goodnight, and hung up the phone- enjoying the rest of the ride in silence, as my two neighbors each sat quietly looking down.
Moral of the story? Don’t assume the girl across from you on the metro doesn’t speak English! She does.


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