If I had to name any regret I have with my life, it would be that I did not take the time when I was younger to learn a foreign language. I tried German when I was in third grade, but the best I mustered was to sing O Tannenbaum. I dabbled a little in Russian, and then tried Spanish. But I can't speak a foreign language, and I'm too old now -- my brain doesn't soak information, it leaks information.
The best I can do when traveling is order a glass of wine or buy perfume or find a bathroom. Of course, what else is there? That about sums up everything I need.
Still, it pains me personally when I have to ask a client to spell a street address or his or her name. I feel it's insulting to tell a person I'm having a problem understanding an accent. Why? Because that client can speak two languages and I can speak only one.
One of the things I really love about Sacramento is the fact it is a diverse city. On my street alone among homes in Land Park we have an international community. One of my neighbors is a Sikh from Tahiti. Another is from Israel. Two are Japanese Americans. Yet another was born in Mexico but her children are Americans by birth. I work with clients who fly back to Mumbai or to Ho Chi Minh City or to some of those small towns in Baja California. I appreciate other cultures.
So, it pains me when agents complain about the Federal Fair Housing or question why we are subject to obeying it. It is against the law to discriminate in housing yet it happens. It's embarrassing that in this day and age we have to have a law against discrimination but because people discriminate, we do.
Fortunately, HUD is targeting national origin-based housing discrimination for its April Fair Housing Month. HUD encourages the public to report housing discrimination. Agents: you might grumble but HUD is watching you.