When your English is still clumsy, and you have a small vocabulary, you have a hard time among the native speakers. The most trying is when you are the single foreigner among the patriots. Worse still, in the English speaking world of the Americas people tend to assume that you are a speaker of their language as a default, regardless of your ethnic origin.
The most difficult task is to carry the conversation in a home party, where nobody pays an extra attention to the fact that you're from a country where English is not the first language. Then you develop a set of skills designed to make life comfortable for you and people around.
For example, you develop a skill in which you divert people's attention and direct the conversation with a short sentence.
It is rather like the technique described by Kurt Vonnegut in his essay "A man without a country." I quote:
As I kid I was the youngest member of my family, and the youngest child in any family is always a jokemaker, because a joke is the only way he can enter into an adult conversation. My sister was five years older than I was, my brother was nine years older than I was, and my parents were both talkers. So at the dinner table when I was very young, I was boring to all those other people. They did not want to hear about the dumb childish news of my days. They wanted to talk about really important stuff that happened in high school or maybe in college or at work. So the only way I could get into a conversation was to say something funny. I think I must have done it accidentally at first, just accidentally made a pun that stopped the conversation, something of that sort. And then I found out that a joke was a way to break into an adult conversation.
Kurt Vonnegut, "A man without a country."
When I was in Vancouver in the summer as I was 15, I tried to get into people's conversation with short jokes or "pointers" that make people take attention and smile. When I look back on my desperate efforts I would like to embrace the clumsy in me, in everybody.