18 May 2010

Je Voudrais Abandoner . . . Mais J'Espère d'Arriver

This morning I walked out of class.  It wasn't over, we still had half an hour to go, but I couldn't sit there and cry while things  moved on without me.

I don't normally cry over not understanding . . . I'm a year shy of 30 . . . how ridiculous to cry over something so silly.  But I'll be honest, I don't feel ridiculous at all.  I have accepted that this position is humbling and it strips me of everything of myself that I had once put my confidence in . . . and somedays I just need a good cry.  And sitting there in class, I really didn't have a good reason to cry, but the tears just kept coming and I couldn't make them stop (it got a bit messy, really).


Language learning is a funny thing.  Being an OT I have a foundational understanding of how the body works with the brain to create new neural pathways . . . just like with learning a new physical skill, it is necessary to strengthen the new language pathways in order for them to work efficiently.  But what is so hard to swallow are the constant ups and downs that come with this pathway-formulation project.  I feel like my language cortex is the PA Turnpike . . . always under construction!

The rough reality: that phrase is true.  My language cortex is under construction. Et Paris ne s'est pas fait en un jour . . . or as we say, Rome wasn't built in a day.

But after nine months of this I'm starting to have my doubts about my capacity to achieve my language goals.  I know it takes time and hard work . . . somedays it feels easier to throw my hands in the air and walk away.

I'm not sure what's happened over the past two weeks, but lately I've been feeling as though I cannot even put two words together to make a comprehensible sentence, and I most certainly cannot understand what people are saying to me.  I find myself reverting back to English at any opportunity, and shying away from more adventurous opportunities of learning in context.

Maybe I'm having classroom-fatigue . . . or it's simply a language road-block.

And I miss crossword puzzles.  I love crossword puzzles . . . but right now I can't do them in French.  Too many words and French historical/political/pop culture figures I don't know.  I miss reading . . . but it takes hours to get a few pages read in French because I have to stop and look up vocabulary that I don't know or mull over grammar and verb tenses to be sure I've understood what I'm reading.  Usually after a page and a half my brain and eyes are so tired I have to walk away.  Why not just do them in English you ask??  Because right now all the other English I use on a regular basis is doing nothing to strengthen my French neural pathways  (or would that be pathways neurales française??  AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!)

I'm having trouble putting a word to this process:  It's hard . . . difficult . . . taxing . . . fatiguing . . . exhausting . . .  humbling . . . frustrating . . . arduous . . . toilsome . . . laborious . . . tough . . . rough . . . brutal . . . acrimonious . . . intense . . . cumbersome . . . grueling . . . dismal . . . you get the idea.  But in French all I can say is C'est difficile.  HEY!!  LOOK AT THAT!  I made a sentence en français!  I guess not all hope is lost.

8 comments:

Hannatu said...

Hang in there, Deb. I know how it feels to be reduced to the vocabulary and language ability of a 2 year old when your brain is thinking like a 30 year old. It is indeed one of the most humbling experiences on earth. You are no longer seen as the competent person you know you are, but as a bumbling idiot. (Not that you're an idiot, but anybody learning language feels like one.)

Cindy said...

We understand...really, really do.
We are praying!

Bethany said...

love ya, pal! hope that's a small encouragement to you.

OH! and we will see each other again in less than 2 months!! how's that for bringing a smile to your face? =)

Deborah said...

Thanks Nancy & Cindy . . . most days aren't so bad. There's just something about getting hit by the VocabularyTsunami that is hard to recover from. But knew and had quite a few blessing up His sleeve in the midst of this.

Bethany: it worked. My mouth, my eyes and my heart are smiling!

John said...

Awww... Sorry you're feeling lost. Does it make you feel any better that I do to? I'm going to bed tonight with only a vague sense of some of the things I supposedly know now. I had a permanance that helped, but...
When I was in Switzerland they talked to me like I was A1 because that's about how well I was doing. I couldn't understand 3/4 of what they said because it was beyond the Latitudes vocabulary. I couldn't say anything either because I was nervous. I kept fixating on conjugating my verbs correctly and consequently never got anything correct.

I just keep reminding myself about the spiral. If I don't get it this time, I'll get it next time.

robin in alabama said...

Hang in there. I know how you feel. I started this at 45 and my pathways have not even begun being built. I will pray that God will give you wisdom and strength. He is Faithful

robin in alabama said...

Hang in there. I know how you feel. I started this at 45 and my pathways have not even begun being built. I will pray that God will give you wisdom and strength. He is Faithful

Cindy said...

We understand...really, really do.
We are praying!