I had recently moved to the US and had no friends because it was very hard for me to socialize in a different language. I am a native Spanish speaker and have been learning English my entire life because my father strongly believes in bilingualism.
Before I continue with my rather funny story, I have to explain what the marine layer is to those of you that, like me at that time, don’t know what that thing is. It is literally a layer of clouds that form in the southern coast of California and makes it gray in May and June. It’s like having the closest experience to a real winter… in the middle of the summer.
OK, back to the story. Even after being taught English my whole life, I was very self-conscious and insecure about my communication abilities and that isolated me from my new world. My husband’s co-worker's girlfriend was moved by my situation and generously offered to take me out for lunch. I arrived at the restaurant and we sat across from each other, very quickly realizing that we had nothing to talk about. She then broke the silence and asked me: So, where you live do you get the marine layer?
A million thoughts ran through my head (all in Spanish, of course). I ran a mental Google search, looking for anything about a marine layer in my mental files. Marine layer sounded official, so my answer was “No… we only get the LA Times”
Two things I learnt from that experience: a) The Marine Layer does make it for a great newspaper name and b) I will forever respect Linda for being so kind by not laughing to my face! It could have crushed me so badly!