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December 14, 2009


I've always struggled with learning languages. Sure, I can count to ten in french and spanish, and say hello and goodbye and thank you and other basics, but my brain freezes after that. I am in awe of polyglots like my husband, who randomly interjects foreign words into his sentences and doesn't even realize it. I laughed when my french teacher expressed surprise when I said I struggled with language. School language courses are easy. Show up, pay attention, do the work, and if you get confused, do a web search for exercises in the topic and practice. Fake the rest. I managed to get through my french oral presentation by creating a complicated powerpoint presentation that was so detailed that it was all the teacher could talk about for the next ten minutes. (I'm sure she never noticed I was shaking, stuttering, and reading off the cards because she was watching my hot air balloon graphic bouncing around the screen.)

I've completed the language requirements for my program, and feel disappointed. I haven't learned enough! Things haven't sunk in. I'm missing bits. I am not the least bit confident of being able to carry out a conversation in french. (Granted, it's possible this is entirely due to my inability to carry out a conversation in english.) It all went by so fast. I would have preferred more time to work it out and try to get that last bit to click.

I don't have to even worry about it any more. It bothers me. I took these courses and I didn't learn how to speak french! I acknowledge that there was always more I could have done. There's more I could still do, I suppose. X, Y, or even Z would make it easier, I just know it. Ah, well. I did the best I could, given the situation.