I didn’t want to do a language lesson this morning. They start at 7am (my choice) and I’d say on average about 60% of the time I’m really not loving the idea of sitting down and struggling with Ciyawo for a few hours. I almost always do it anyway, because even worse than sitting down doing a Ciyawo lesson – speaking to someone on the phone to cancel! I don’t even like talking on the phone in English, let alone my third language. I do it because if I cancelled every time I didn’t feel like, I’d still sound like a 1 1/2 year old trying to talk (I’ve probably reached 4 year old level now – on a good day). I do it because 90% of the time, on the days when I really don’t feel up for it, it’s actually quite fun and I learn something new and I’m encouraged in amongst the beautiful mess of misunderstanding, laughter, frustration and friendship.
Most days, I’m encouraged as I grow in my understanding of the meaning of words and how to use them – today I learnt that you don’t “close” a book as we would say, you “cover” the words back up. Most days I’m encouraged as I learn something new about people’s view of the world – today I learnt that most people believe that the chiefs of old had the power to control the storms and make it rain nicely so everyone would have a good harvest. These days not so much. Every now and then I’m encouraged to learn that MY perspective is shifting – today I drew a compass to remind myself (for possibly the 100th time) what the names of all the different directions are. In the past I would have put north up the top, south at the bottom, east on the right and west on the left… right? That’s just how it’s done. But after years of talking about the time during the day and pointing to a corresponding position of the sun in the sky, I drew it on the page the way with the directions laid out in relation to where my book sat. I sat back and looked at it and felt ridiculously excited that I’d drawn a compass differently.