Really grasping the amount of language we’ve learned in a very short period of time is a hard thing. While I still feel like I’m speaking at the level of about a one to two year old it’s crazy to think that I’ve really only been here for a little over two months now. My language teacher was amazing for various reasons but on one of the first days of our class this vine started growing up through the floor boards. Instead of cutting it down he let it grow and occasionally used it as a reference for how far we’ve come. It wasn’t until our last language class when the vine was at the ceiling that I really thought about how far we’ve come and how much progress we’ve made. Language has been a struggle for me in the sense that I just want to be able to speak, I study and I practice and I learn new things every day but I still feel like I can’t keep up. I know I need to go easier on myself because like I said we’ve only been here for a little while. So even if I need to hear something twice to understand it I am still understanding it eventually and that’s huge. I studied Spanish for four years and yet I know more Kyrgyz than I do Spanish.
Anytime I talk to my Mom about my struggles with language and being frustrated she reminds me to be gentle on myself and she’s right. I’m working hard every day and it’s a slow process and I need to remind myself of that. It is always reassuring to hear the volunteers that have been here for a year speak so clearly and then also reassuring when they’re confused (sorry guys but it is).
So a big thank you to my language teacher for teaching me the language and also for making me feel at home. My language teacher and I connected right away and I feel as though we have the same sense of humor, which has helped me to feel safe and feel like I can really experiment and push myself with the language. Being able to laugh at myself with the dumb mistakes I made and being able to understand the Kyrgyz jokes puts me at ease and doesn’t make me worry about mistakes but allows me to make them. When he drove us to hub site and drove the entire way with only one sunglass lens in and didn’t realize until we got there that was probably one of the times I’ve laughed the hardest in country. I don’t think I could ever thank him enough but I hope to continue our friendship while I’m here and continue to learn from him. So thank you B for your laugh and your knowledge.