We were in Priya Indian Cuisine♠ (used to be Kebab Indian Cuisine). I got chatting with our waiter and found out that he was from India and Pakistan and South Africa, and a few other places. He speaks 9 languages. He said he arrived in America a few months ago and found his job quickly. He said it was easy -- just talk to people (in their language).I had a terrible time in school learning French and as a result I have been afraid of foreign languages ever since. However, it is obvious, or should be, to one and all that learning foreign languages is of great benefit.
This is not to say that those who come to this nation should not be learning English, in all its strange accents and variations here in the States (my current question to myself is if it is scaffolding or "staging"), but if the United States is going to grow economically in a very competitive world, we should be encouraging our children to learn other languages in school.
And, chatting with the waitstaff, as long as one is not delaying another customer's meal, is a good way to learn new things (See Above). I am not a shrink, so I don't claim to know the psychology of being a waiter or waitress, but I suspect some of them appreciate being seen as more than robots taking orders and delivering food.
Regards — Cliff
♠ I have never been to Priya Indian Cuisine, but did note it is up by Drum Hill. And apparently there were two satisfied customers.