Tag Archives: International travel

Learning a New Language

This year, I am turning 45 years old.

In celebration of me-because that should happen all the time and not just at my birthday. . . and those who know me, understand that I’m only partally joking with that statement-we’re taking an oversees trip that hasn’t happened since we bought a house almost 15 years ago. Once we bought our first house, all our travel money disappeared into the pit of paying for improvements and general upkeep of a two hundred year old house.

Scarlett is going to 8 years old this month and COVID is manageable at this point so we’re taking this milestone to travel again. We’re going to Belgium for a week and in an attempt to not be a stupid American, I’m attempting to learn French and Ross – bless him – is learning Dutch. We’re both using Babbel and the little snippets of learning are really helping me not get overwhelmed because I always have a lot of crap going through my mind at all times.

However, I have discovered that I do have to go back and do lessons again beause they’re so brief that I’m not sure I’m retaining the intricacies of the language. Also, I’m having a hard time keeping straight which letters/endings are not necessarily pronounced. I spent five years studying Russian in college and you pronounce every damned letter, so dealing with the letters in words that aren’t necessarily pronounced is hard for me to remember.

I’m hoping that I can just slur some of it and maybe they’ll forgive me. Maybe they won’t notice because these lessons are just going to get more complicated and I’m old now, so learning new things is hard.

I remember things visually. When I learned Russian, I had a table that I created with endings across cases and pronouns. I could pull that table up in my brain to find the right ending for what I wanted to say. In fact, if I try, I can still see that table. The endings…yes, the cases along the top…not so much. Its fuzzy, but its still there. Babbel doesn’t have any of that and as the lessons start conjugating verbs, i have a feeling my brain is not going like that very much.

Everyday, there’s a tiny lesson and hopefully I’ll get better by the time we leave in August. Wish me luck!