Back in the bubble
For the most part, the language refresher that I have been attending since Tuesday has been like being in Pre-Service Training again – as it relates to language learning. Better, in fact, because now that I have been here for a number of months, I have seen or heard some of the topics we learned about here, and about which we were not taught during PST because we were so busy learning the basics of the language, there was no way we could have learned anything else.
Mostly, though, it has been like being back in language class in PST because we have been in a nice bubble – the people speak the language slowly and clearly, and use words that they know we will understand (or explain words that we don’t). They speak correctly (in terms of grammar) and explain questions related to that too. In other words, it ain’t real life.
The bubble effect is kind of like being in the land of the lotus eaters – it feels good and lulls you into state where you feel that everything is all warm and fuzzy, and time passes very quickly. It feels good to be here because I understand so much more than I do on an every day basis at my site, and it gives me some hope that things have been sinking in, that I really am making progress. It makes me feel good about my abilities.
Then I got to my session this morning, and reality came crashing back upon me.
No one, including me, knew my language level (and we still don’t, though we can likely guess now. I refuse to take the Language Proficiency Exam until the summer). So I was attending sessions which I thought would be challenging, and I was keeping up (I had a few more questions on vocabulary than others, but also I surprised myself by knowing things others didn’t. This did not happen often, though). This morning I went to a session and as soon as it began, I thought “oy, I am in over my head.” I tried to tell myself not to worry, that it was not that bad. But it got worse, and I started to feel like an idiot, and left the session early (that’s the nice thing about adult learning, and PC learning – you can leave a session early).
Since that session, I have been struggling a little bit with myself – trying to not feel like an idiot for even trying to even get into the topic, trying to reassure myself that I am in fact doing rather well, all things considered. But let’s be honest – I am exceedingly hard on myself (though I try not to be) when it comes to anything related to academics. For most of my life, this caused me to excel in school but in real life, and in work situations, and in circumstances such as this, it is not a great trait to have. So my bubble burst a little earlier than it otherwise would have – normally I would have gotten back to my site, still with the warm fuzzy feeling, and hit reality as soon as I tried to hold a conversation with someone. Instead, I am still glad I came, as I have learned some things, reinforced some things, reviewed other things, and gotten back my motivation for learning this on my own.
But the bubble? It is gone. Well, it was nice while it lasted!