They say time flies when you’re having fun. And I can finally say that I’m starting to really have fun with this whole language learning thing.
I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it’s because I’ve started making a couple of really good friends, maybe I’ve stopped caring what other people think about me, or maybe I’m actually getting a little better at Italian…. ok probably not the latter, but a girl can dream!
I first really noticed the change after I… wait for it… cried in class. But this time, in what I am calling a massive milestone, I was crying with laughter, not embarrassment! I started sitting next to this guy who is unbelievably funny- and knows just how to lift my, and the rest of the classes’ spirits (especially when the grammar is getting a little dry). To be honest, I had always just assumed that he was really great at Italian, and while he is still much, much better than I am, he is actually just giving everything a go and only getting it right some of the time. The only real difference between him and me is, he couldn’t care less about making mistakes or coming across as weird. So after a particularly funny exercise where we described a fictional superhero who shoots bananas from her wrists, both he, I, and the rest of the class were in absolute hysterics.
Sure we got a little light-hearted telling-off for not taking the exercise seriously (and also for speaking in terrible Italian), but it was a lot of fun. And that’s what this is all about, right?
So I have since decided to embrace my new friend’s mentality and am giving everything a crack, regardless of whether I know I’m right or not. For example, homework used to be a huge source of anxiety for me, mostly because I never really understood what I was doing. I would sit in bed with my head in my hands and make Ben explain, and then re-explain concepts to me until I would eventually just give up and copy his answers (as he’d done it all the week before). Then in class, as to not draw attention to the fact that I still didn’t understand, would just read out the correct answer and pretend like I got there on my own. But now it’s a different story. I literally just do my best; nothing more, nothing less. There are so many blank spaces on my page and so many wrong answers, but I’ve started to realise that that is ok. Now, when it’s my turn to read out an answer in class, I’ll either just say what I’ve written and not care if it is wrong, or will simply just say “no lo so” (I don’t know) and laugh. Which, funnily enough, means that my teachers spend more time explaining things to me, and I actually start to learn how to correct my mistakes. Even weirder, now that I’m able to have a good laugh at myself, people in my class are being a lot more inclusive, and I am starting to make some really good friends.
Of course, writing this all down now, it seems pretty obvious. But when you’re mentally spiralling about being stupid and not understanding basic things, it’s very hard to see the wood for the trees. Trust me!
As corny as it sounds, it’s pretty funny to think that after all this time, all I really needed to do was embrace my shortcomings and just be my weird, flawed self!