Do you have a little demon that sometimes nags at you and sometimes even stops you from doing things?
I certainly do have a few.
One of them is the language barrier. Having been born in Germany, grown up with Hungarian speaking grandparents in the house and my mum originating from Hungarian, English was certainly not my first language. I could speak a little bit of Hungarian until the political situation in Europe made it harder to visit our families and we stopped our yearly visits in Hungary. In grade 3 I had French as language option and living very close to the border of France, that was the logical option. So you see English was far away of being even my second language.
In Germany you change schools in year 5 and with that I started up with English lessons in school. I had English as subject until I left school with Grade 13. That gave me 9 years of theoretical Oxford English, which is a great basis to build on. But that’s all it is. After 4 days in Sydney I realised how less I understood the Australians. Travelling around didn’t made it any easier, as the variation of accents in Australia is endless!
Starting to work in a Long Day Care Facility was the best thing that could have happened to my English. I started with the basics, learning with the little one. That was sometimes pretty rough to take. Imagine a 2 year old telling you that you do not speak a proper English and that’s not how the songs go…..not easy on your self esteem. On top of that you have colleagues that are sitting in the back, thinking it’s the funniest thing listen to you reading a story to the kids with a broad German accent.
Then I did the oddest thing everybody could have done that is so conscious about their language abilities. I am gone completely out of my comfort zone and bought a Tourism Business with hubby and all of a sudden I offered a 5 hr Tour with non stop commentary…..I must have been in a different world when I signed the contract for this.
After the first tour I was crashed….my vocabulary was definitely not up to specks for a 5hr Tourism Tour. But how to change that in a hurry? Not at all. I had to do baby steps and learn everyday a bit more. Eventually my vocabulary changed and expanded but still I had my broad accent, which is still with me after more than 11 years living in Australia.
Sometimes the awareness of the lack of vocabulary and the accent stops me in my way and makes me think twice about going out meeting new people. Only sometimes it stops me of joining conversations. I got a lot better to just accept it as it is….but just sometimes the little demon comes out and stops the flow of life……