03 August, 2010

Epiphany (well, language equivalent)

We all know by now that I'm not adverse to a bit of complaining, and that I don't normally have a lot of confidence in my ability to speak Dutch, but I had such a good experience today that I just had to rush home and share.

Six months ago, the prospect of a stranger approaching me and speaking Dutch to me almost kept me locked inside my house, but today when a man stopped me in the supermarket I was only mildly concerned, but thought "Let's just see how this pans out."  As soon as he started talking, I was answering, giving my opinion (on the best sauce for hamburgers) and just generally having a bit of a chat.  Then it kind of hit me.  I was doing it in Dutch.  In Dutch!  Mid conversation the lovely man realised that I wasn't actually Dutch, so asked where I was from.  When I said Australia and had been here for about two years, he nearly fell over.  I'm not even exaggerating!  Turns out he's Iranian and has been living here for 15 years and couldn't believe how well I could speak in Dutch, especially as he struggles with the language himself.  He was full of compliments, and it felt (still feels) fantastic.  After all the praise and encouragement from Lovely Maarten (that I didn't really believe) it has finally hit home that I'm really getting there, and getting there fast!

So, if you're struggling (like I'm sure I will be again next week), take heart.  It will get better, and you're going to really surprise yourself.  I had the wind in my face on the bike all the way home today, but I didn't care.  Life is good.  Now pass the wine.

P.S. I know that all of my thanks MUST go to my teacher.  She does such a wonderful job and is so patient.  Never makes me feel self conscious and is never critical.  If you're still shopping for a course, you really can't go past the Ttif Company in Almere.


Pinay in Dutchland said...

Oh this is so familiar especially when about wanting to lock yourself at home at the thought of a person approaching and talking to you in Dutch. Im so glad for you that you are getting the confidence to speak it. Congratulations.

Unknown said...

Well done, then!!! It feels good when you finally discover one day that you can communicate in Dutch. Enjoy!

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