There is an old lady living upstairs, and we have a nice, friendly dialogue with her. She always talks nicely to us. Or at least, this is what we think, because we can't really understand at least half of the things she says. Because her accent is really very alien to us.
Whenever I watch a movie with characters from different parts of the world, I am sort of irritated when i see that the characters can understand each other so easily. It irritates me, because i know that it is impossible, and it is far from convincing, and i feel angry for the script writers who don't do their job good enough and angry for the director and the rest of the crew who simply don't care.
It is not only the accent thing. A language is not something you can grasp only by literally translating the words. It is more than that. There are always idioms made up of words with a completely different meaning than the combination of those words. And yet, people understand each other so easily. It is just lame.
For example in the movie Eat Pray Love, there is a barbershop scene in which two Italian guys, one American woman and one Swedish woman have a chat. And one of the Italian guys talks about his theory about Americans. And the American woman says: "It is not far off, acutally". And the Swedish woman nods. Really? So did she get what the American woman says? OK now, if you are already a native English speaker, you might ask "what is the big deal?" But it is a big deal. This idiom is not something they will teach you in basic English courses. You have to live with English speaking people to grasp the meaning at the first instance you hear about it.
You see, this is actually lame. Very lame. And it is far off from the reality.