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Getting over myself!

Well, my Dutch is actually pretty good now. I have been here for a long time so it ought to be (it’ll be ten months on Sunday…woah! lol) I understand pretty much everything around me. Every once in awhile there will be a word I don’t know or whatever but for the most part I really understand things very well. My problem is talking. Ok, all you who actually know me stop laughing, I can hear you from here! I know that the problem is usually getting me to shut up, but that’s when I’m speaking English. Speaking Dutch, however is a whole different thing for me. In my head I’m almost fluent and even when I’m speaking to the kids I do pretty well. For some reason though when I talk to adults I get so nervous! It’s strange I know, I think it’s another part of my perfectionism…or something. But now I’m going to have to get over it…

See, what we’ve decided to do is to rotate languages. One day we’ll speak only Dutch (for me to improve) and the next only English (for the kids to improve). We started with all Dutch this evening…and I just didn’t say much, lol. But I did talk a couple times, mostly to the kids (which I always do no problem) but even to Robbert and Ineke which is new. It’s funny because they’ve always been so encouraging and everything about my Dutch so I can’t understand why I’m nervous…who knows. I’m excited though, I think this is really going to help me.

Tomorrow should be interesting too because it’s English day. Actually, the kids have been doing really well with English. They can understand me if I have them concentrate and I speak slowly to them. Plus, they can say basic stuff like “Can you hang my jacket up, please?” or “May I have a drink, please?” etc. They’re really a lot more open to it than they ever were before but they still kind of fight it sometimes.

Like today, Ineke brought home a puzzle with English words on it and Morten and Timo’s reaction was something like: “Yea! oh, is an English puzzle?” Ineke:”Yes.” boys: “ooooh…*frown*”. Ineke then asked them if she should take it back, to which Morten quickly responded no. Timo however adamantly vowed that he would “Never, never, never play with it!” Of course after seeing Morten working on it for two minutes he wanted to join in as well. They react that way sometimes when Ineke, Robbert and I have a conversation in English at the table too. They really get frustrated when they have to think hard to understand everything (and I don’t blame them, I know the feeling!) So, for those reasons I can see tomorrow being a bit of a challenge. However, I think if we really stick to it they’ll learn in no time.

So yeah, wish us all luck. And lets hope I can just swallow my pride, get over myself and really finally learn…

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2 Comments

  1. You will do great Abigail!

    I may have said so before but when i went to France as an aupair, I said nothing, absolutely nothing for the first 2 weeks. By the time i had figured out how to respond they were 3 sentences ahead and you just don’t want to make stupid mistakes. But remember your Dutch is probably way better than everybody’s English and I know for sure some people around us won’t even notice you’re American (remember Reollo’s mother who said; Oh,Abigail, that’s a nice name, it sounds English and then went on in Dutch and that was even months ago 😉

  2. European languages are great! Almost fluent in 10 months is good going too! Makes me wonder why bother to teach languages in schools, just send them to the country for a year’s exchange or something instead!
    I hope I can do as well in Japanese, although apparently it takes years before you become comfortable (average of all the missionaries OMF has and surveyed was 8 years!).

    But I bet it is cool to be bilingual!

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