Light my fire

A park in central Chisinau

It’s funny, today I felt like I had this breakthrough to another level, just when I was starting to feel a little depressed about my seeming lack of progress in language acquisition and enculturation.  It started with Diana, my LTI, praising me effusively in our check in session.  She said I reminded her of her own mother, who lives in the northern part of Moldova and she doesn’t get to see that often.  I am enthusiastic and determined, just like her mother, she said.  It’s good to have me in class, she said, because it makes her feel like she is an effective teacher and that she has a connection with her mother so far away.  She actually grabbed my hand and squeezed it (and she’s not a demonstrative person.)  She said that I am learning at a fast pace and I should be speaking Romanian comfortably before I realize it.

Which may have been just the spark I needed to light my confidence.  I came home and started stringing random sentences together for Nina, even though I was hesitant about my grammar and pronunciation.  I just kept running through the tenses and conjugation and gender/plural combinations until I found the right one.  Soon enough, Nina and I were having little conversations.  Sure they were episodic and halted mid-topic when she exceeded my vocabulary, but at least there was a back and forth going on that I could sustain for four or five sentences.  IT FELT FANTASTIC.  Really.  Like I was a toddler uttering my first grammatically correct statement and my mom was making noises I could understand.  And then a breeze started blowing and the sweaty film that has stuck to my skin like saran wrap for the last week was whisked away and the birds were singing and the leaves were rustling on the trees and I finally felt myself relax into my body and just be present.  It was the very first moment that I stopped feeling like a complete stranger in a strange land and had the first breath of settling in.

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9 thoughts on “Light my fire

  1. Didn’t we all know that it was just a matter of time? Yoiu are WAY too hard on yourself,Yvette! What a great feeling….to be understood and to understand! Alleluia!

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    1. You are one of my inspirations, Teri! I’ll never forget your cheerful perserverance with that dislocated shoulder on the mountain. At least I’m not in any physical pain (other than this dreadful heat ;-> )

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  2. I firmly believe that us middle-agers can absolutely master a foreign language. Two of my wifes best students are in their sixties, and doing wonderful learning Italian. Motivation is the key factor.

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    1. Actually you’re right. Some of the younger group is pretty indifferent to studying and investing in the classes. It seems to be us older folks who appreciate the value of what we’re being given (the gift of language) and treat it as a valuable commodity rather than a chore.

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  3. A breakthrough! Hurray! And no better person than a DIANA to provide you with the support and encouragement you need ;)~ It sounds to me like you found your Moldova husband (LTI Diana), I guess with real husband and work husband, that was to be expected, Mike and I will just have to understand ~ right Mike?

    All kidding aside, I’m sure glad you are starting to feel your progress, it is interesting how slow this process feels to you while I contined to find myself amazed with how far you have come along in such a short time. I guess there’s a lot to be said about experiencing such a journey through reading about it versus living it,

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    1. Diana’s are the best! I’m lucky to have them in my life. And thanks for keeping me aware of the timing. I do tend to get impatient with myself and forget how short of a time I have actually been at this. It just feels when you’re immersed in it that it should come to you right away – like I should have a Google translate button in my brain.

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