Thursday, January 13, 2011

Say What???

For the last year, I've had one major struggle that has been coming up repeatedly, not just in my blog, but in my life.  Language.  I'm a believer that the older you get, the harder it is to learn a new language; your brain just is no longer fine tuned to accept the info.  You know, can't teach an old dog new tricks.  But alas, I'm trying.  And yet, it still eludes and intimidates me.

I've let this language barrier prevent me from doing things I would normally have already done at home.  Top of that list lately, sports for the kids.  Aidan has always done sports year round since he was a little kid.  And for the last year, nothing.  Now the boys don't get home from school til 5 and after school sports start anywhere from 4:30 to 6 and last up to 2 hours.  So that's certainly a reason not to pursue it at this time.  But for me, the big reason was I didn't want to have to deal with the research, communication and eventual sign up of a sport.  I had this same intimidation when it came to signing up for the gym and if a friend of mine hadn't just passed away of a heart attack, I probably would have continued to procrastinate that one. 

Lately I've come to realize that in order to see my kids thrive here, I need to get over my fears.  The boys have been acting out a lot lately and I think that part of this is due to their lack of outlet to get their energy out.  In addition to that, Aidan and I have had several conversations in the last few months about participating in school.  He doesn't want to raise his hand and have the answer be wrong.  My response was to give him some silly alternatives such as "Is the teacher going to hang you by your toes in front of your class?" if you are wrong?  I've given this some thought and like other things I've learned from the kids in the last year, this one makes sense too.  What is the worst thing that's going to happen to me if I can't communicate perfectly?  Can I get the job accomplished?  Yes... I can. 

And so today I went up the tennis courts that we've played at in the past and while I didn't actually sign them up, I got all the paperwork necessary and we will be going on Saturday for a trial lesson (which was at their suggestion and I actually understood that) and then can sign them up.  Regardless I have to go back on Saturday, explain in Spanish that they are there for a trial lesson and then get them signed up after the lesson (assuming, hoping and praying it goes well).  So it was a huge accomplishment today for me.  Not to mention, I found a short cut on the metro that should have been so obvious before but wasn't for some reason and trimmed at least 15 mins off the travel time to the courts.  Check that one off the list and while I'm add it, add in a little boost in confidence.

In order to continue with this confidence building trend, I really need to focus.  One of my (many) new year's resolutions this year was to take my fear of language and kick it's ass.  I was determined that I would study my Rosetta Stone every day for at least one hour.  I've done it before, I can do it again.  Monday was my first day...and I almost fell asleep during that hour.  Tuesday I said screw it.  Apparently that resolution has bit the dust.

Or has it?  I'm looking at alternatives - possibly taking a class with a new friend.  I downloaded an app to my iphone that I can study when I'm on the train.  I signed up for a word a day email as well.  I also want to improve for my kids - I expect them to be fluent by the time we move back home and if I have those expectations for them, how can I not at least attempt the same?  While I know I won't likely be fluent by the end of this year or even by the time I leave, there is no doubt that progress will be made.  I've improved dramatically in the last year alone so hopefully given some time to actually study, maybe you can teach this old lady some new tricks!


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