In a conversation, it is most helpful if the participants have a least one language in common. For instance:
(At a gathering for an international group)
E: So, have you ever been to the United States before?
Syrian guy: (points to self) Architect.
E: Wow, really? That's great. So have you ever visited the U.S. before?
S.G.: I really miss my wife.
E: Er...okay. Nice chatting with you.
And as a further aside, let's all encourage E to start her own blog. I know she wants to, deep down inside, and I think it would be damn funny if I do say so myself. I've already got about twenty emails she could start with...