Today is a milestone day for me. I truly have mixed feelings about it. In many ways, I am very happy. In other ways, it makes me sad. I have come to the end of an era in my life.
What am I talking about?
In August 2007, I met Bebe Metillo for the first time. I was introduced to Bebe by Shannon, who is a reader of this site. For those who don’t know who Bebe is, she has been my Cebuano/Bisaya teacher since August 2007. Basically, in the 4+ years since that time, I have taken a Cebuano lesson once, and sometimes twice, each week. There have been times when I have missed a week due to illness, a conflicting appointment or some other reason. But, for the most part, I have had around 52 lessons each year.
Today, it all comes to an end.
Well, today, I am taking the final part of my Cebuano Final Exam. Bebe’s Cebuano course consists of 60 lessons, teaching grammar and vocabulary, as well as Philippine Culture. Lesson 60 is the final exam for the course. Over the past 4 or 5 weeks, I have been taking different sections of the final exam, and today I will complete that.
Over the years, Bebe has become a very close friend, actually I consider her to be family. I have written before that I consider Bebe to be like a sister, and that is very true. I can honestly say that Bebe is my number 1 friend and confidante that I have made since moving to the Philippines. I truly love Bebe.
Learning Cebuano has been one of the biggest highlights of my life since living in the Philippines. At the time that I began studying the language, I never envisioned this day, but I am so happy that I stuck with it until the end. Bebe told me that only a small percentage of students stick with it all the way through the end, and I am so happy to be one of that small group.
I really enjoy being able to go around town, to the public market and such, and interact with the people there. It makes me really feel part of the community in which I live, and it makes my life in the Philippines even more enjoyable than it already is.
Even though I am finished with my formal learning of Cebuano, that doesn’t mean I won’t be learning any longer. I mean, language is a living and growing thing. Language always develops. Also, although I finished the formal course, that doesn’t mean that I’m an expert, or that I have no more to learn.
What it means, though, is that I am proficient enough now that my continued learning will be through using the language, talking with people, listening to the way others use the language, etc. And, that is what I will do. Just as I learn new words and ideas about the English language, I will also continue to learn more and more Cebuano too. It will just be through a different method than sitting down for an hour and a half each week with a teacher.
I won’t need to be missing my teacher, Bebe, though. I have decided recently that I will now start learning Tagalog. Learning language is already a well established part of my life now, and I’m not ready to give up that part of my life at this time. I can see benefits to knowing how to speak Tagalog, so… I’m ready to let that journey begin.
Bisaya na sa akong kasing-kasing, pero magtuon na ko ug Tagalog. Andam na ko.