I've also realized that there are actually upsides to living in a place where you don't always understand what people are saying. First of all, you can't judge their intelligence level by your stupid standards. I mean, if your grasp of the language is elementary and you obviously don't want them to judge you, then how can you judge them!? And, moreover, if you don't understand the stupid things that people are saying to you, then they don't bother you nearly as much.
I'm pretty sure that when I first moved here I thought everyone was awesome. Everyone that was friendly to me, that is. I mean, I was so happy that someone was actually being nice to be and trying to have a conversation with me, and I just couldn't understand them well enough to judge them. This is life in a second language. Slang goes over your head. You can't catch every word. You're not quite sure if you heard them right, and especially unsure if you articulated yourself correctly. A simple conversation becomes a sort of struggle to achieve a basic human desire: communication. The struggle makes any conversation, whether it be about the weather or about toilet habits, simply worth the while.
Now that there is no struggle and my fluency is at a relatively high level.....
I realize that I am totally a judgmental whore.
Once I got a hang of the accents (some are totally JAPy, others are really trashy, still others are hipped out kibbutz-like) I could tell right off the bat what kind of person I was talking to. It only got worse when I started to understand the words that were coming out of their accented mouths.
Does this mean that ignorance is bliss? You tell me.