I’m back in the saddle again! No, I don’t ride horses, it’s a metaphor! Ha ha… last week, I got started back on my Bisaya lessons.
When I took a break from my language lessons in November, I promised myself that I would start back again in January, and I kept my word to myself. I had taken a break from lessons for several reasons. Firstly, the Christmas season is our busiest time of the year, business-wise. Because the world economy is so slow this year, I wanted to focus my time on doing everything I could to make sure that our Christmas business was as good as it could be. Secondly, I was at a point with my lessons where I was not focused anymore to the point I needed to be. All of us get into those kind of positions with nearly everything in life where we lose our focus, and need a bit of a break to get our mind back to where it should be.
I found that my break from language study was a good thing to do. Instead of dreading that my lesson was coming up, as I was a few months ago, I was really excited to getting back to studying again. So, the break from studying was successful in getting my mind back in focus on the task.
Although I had seen my teacher, Bebe, a number of times over the past months, it was not for lessons. It was really nice to see her again coming to teach me again. We have started off by doing a review from the beginning of the lessons for this first month, to get my mind back up to date again. After that, we will get back into starting new lessons that I have not had yet. Before taking my break, I was on Lesson 49 out of a total of 60 lessons in the course. So, I am actually getting fairly close to finishing up with this course. I’m quite happy about that. However, for lessons from the mid 30’s up through the 40’s, I do need some fairly extensive review, though, to really learn those lessons well. But, that’s OK, I don’t mind. It is my goal to finish up through Lesson 60 by mid-2010, and I am sure I can complete that. At least during January, I am having two lessons per week now to get back where I want to be. In the past, it has always been one class per week.
A little bit of focus on other language related issues.
First, I have a friend who I don’t know really well, but have met a number of times who has just started with learning Bisaya. He is also a resident of Davao, and around my age. This fellow used to live in Davao like 5 or 6 years ago, then went back to the States for a few years. He is back in town now, and recently asked me to recommend a teacher for him. I gladly recommended that he contact Bebe, and within only a couple of days he was already having class! This fellow already speaks Tagalog, so I am excited to see how quickly he can pick up Bisaya. My friend, by the way, is also American, and his name is Tom. I expect Tom to move ahead very quicly on the Bisaya lessons! I was kind of happy when I met with Bebe on Friday, she told me that Tom told her that “he wanted to learn Bisaya so he could understand Bob’s posts on Facebook.” You see, I post updates in Facebook about half the time in English, and the other half in Cebuano. So, it really made me feel good that Tom told Bebe that I had at least some influence on deciding to start learning Cebuano himself! Go, Tom! Good luck on your lessons!
Another thing that I wanted to mention was about some other expat blogs I have read lately. There are two different sites I am talking about. I am not going to name the sites or the people, because it is not my intention to embarrass them, or make them feel bad. On these other sites, lately there has been a discussion about language. These other expats (some of them anyway) are complaining that there is not enough English language used by their families, and by the people around town that they come into contact with. I think it is important for any expat to remember that you moved here, and it is part of your responsibility to do things to make yourself fit in with the way things are here. English is spoken here, but other languages are the primary languages that the people speak. Which language is used depends on where you live. Maybe it’s Tagalog, Bisaya, Waray, Ilocano or Ilonggo. Or, maybe something totally different. Ninety Million Filipinos are not going to change how they speak to make you happy. So, you have two choices:
- Learn some of the local language where you live so that you can join in the conversation, or
- Stick with English and be somewhat isolated from society. If you choose to stick with English only, that is OK, and it is your choice, but why complain that you are having trouble communicating with others?
No need to get upset about it, or lament that you are lonely for conversation. Learning to speak the language is actually quite easy, because you are already immersed in a community where you hear it spoken everywhere you go! If you make the effort, in 3 months time you can carry on a reasonable conversation with the local people! Three months, one hour per week, and a few hours per week studying is not a big commitment. Don’t you think? I mean, maybe 4 hours per week for 3 months, and you can make your life a lot more enjoyable and hassle free than it is now!
Give it a shot! I promise that you will not regret it!
One thing that you always hear is that it is hard for an older person to learn a new language. Is that correct? Is it true? I don’t think so, and I’m going to tell you why when I continue on this topic, probably next week.
Maayong adlaw sa akong mga amigo diri sa LiP!