Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My cheese grater brain

I have tackled some things in my life that were hard. Learning Auto CAD was a doozy for me, and then the classes I took in Solids Modeling and machine design stretched my brain even more. Through literal tears, I managed to get through it and get good grades. Learning most other subjects has been quite easy for me, if I put in the time, I get the rewards.

But learning languages has been my weak point. I have dabbled in, through the years:
Spanish - middle school
French - high school
Sign Language - in my early 20's
Russian - before Kiev in 1993
Chinese - in Davis
German - before our various trips there
German is the one language I went the furthest with. Probably from the exposure, the crispness of the pronunciation, the way it felt most like English.

So now here we are in a Romanian congregation for over 2 years, with association in the group 2 years before that. Granted, we have had some scary life events with Ernst that put some halts to my learning for times, but it has been a while now. How I feel about my language learning is like this:

In my brain, it is as if there is a large sheet of thick metal, running vertically from ear to ear. When Romanian comes in my brain, from my eyes or my ears, it hits this wall of metal, crashes and falls to the language graveyard at the bottom, where good Romanian goes to die! The few phrases that are laying near death at the bottom can only be brought to life while I am alone. When I need to use them, such as in talking to a live person, they play dead.

But in the past couple weeks, there seems to be a few holes poking their way into the metal plate. I am hopeful. I am beginning to hear more phrases, not just words. Grammar is beginning to make sense, a little at a time. There is a website that rates how hard a language is to learn. There are 5 cacti possible in difficulty. Romanian gets 4 cacti out of 5, (Spanish gets 2, even though they are both Latin based). So maybe the cacti are punching holes in the metal plate.  If my abilities are compared to a kitchen tool, I will wish to become a cheese grater rather than a sponge. It is a little late in the game to hope to be a language sponge.

Here are some reasons why I can't give up.
the clothes

the goodness

the dancing

the teenagers

the kids

the attitude

the sweetness

the joy

more kids

the history

more dancing

the friendships

the beauty of character