Monday, 21 March 2011

Getting What You Wish For, But Not Exactly on a Star

Ok, Ok, I have got what I deserved. There I was bleating on about how I was such a hypochondriac and wallowing in my new-found sicknesses and ailments. But now I find that one thing just seems to be following the next and now I have a super-duper cold, complete with deep-throated chesty cough. Well, enough is enough and I am officially sick of being sick!

But that is one’s comeuppance I suppose. You pretend for long enough that you are a hypochondriac and then the great finger in the sky hears you – well perhaps that should be the great ear in the sky hears you and it is the great finger that points at you and a bolt of lightening shoots out of the tip and you are struck down with the dreaded Lurgy or at least the Plague!

I am sick of being sick! I have been sick for the most part since my Victor left me just after Christmas, what with my shoulder, other mysterious ‘female’ complaints and now this ‘Thing’ that wakes me in the night with hot sweats and body wracking coughing attacks. I have even been dreaming of evil bile and running sores and vomit! Let me get well! That is a desperate plea to the universe to let me rejoin the human race. For heaven’s sake there are wars erupting on the planet and earthquakes and other real tragedies and catastrophes and all I can think about is my own stupid nose and wretched throat.

So I am turning over a new leaf. Yes, again folks! A new leaf that states that I am no longer a hypochondriac or even a pretend one. I am going to beat this cold and am going to get back into the swing of things. I have a to do list as long as your arm already backed up behind me and I am going to start ticking things off it ASAP.

You know, even though I really am feeling lousy and did tell some people that I had the Flu at first just to illicit a bit of extra sympathy (but honestly my bones really were aching) I am still doing more than most.

I continue to get up in the morning come hell or highwater and even though jogging has been difficult I have still walked my route in the mornings, well most mornings. I plug into my ipod shuffle and listen to my Spanish tapes too in order to keep my mind active as well. I then get home and doggedly attack my Spanish lessons. I learn verbs and I practice conjugations and I write endless essays, which to my delight are yielding fewer and fewer red marks when they are returned to me, so something must be sticking. I am really happy to report that I am definitely coming to learn the most simple form of the past tense as well as having a grasp of two other past tenses. I have even started to make sense of the elusive ‘subjunctive’.

I love learning languages actually. They are extremely frustrating when you first begin and then there comes a shift when the pattern of the language starts to set into your brain and you can literally see the pattern in your head when you are speaking. Of course the final stage is when you don’t actually have to think at all and you simply understand and know how to say things automatically. That is the point when you start to dream in that foreign language as well.

I think the hardest part is that point when you realize that to improve you simply have to sit down and learn rules and irregularities and that there are no short cuts to be taken. That is when you realize the enormity of the project you have taken on as you look at the size of the dictionary and the book of verbs. It is also very frustrating when at times you find you take two steps forward and then another one back and you feel you are achieving nothing.

Not to mention of course the whole pronunciation bit of the language, as well as trying to understand people when they speak to you in various dialects and at a rate of knots. Nighmare!

I have been learning hard now for a year and a half. A year and a bit of that time has been while living in Spain of course and during this time it has been easier to pick up phrases and also to get help from friends and neighbours. Everyday is a practical lesson as long as you get out and about and make sure that you ask questions in shops and insist on speaking to people in Spanish even though sometimes you really do not make a whole lot of sense.

I originally gave myself two years to become fluent in the language. I don’t think I will be far off that target if I continue with the momentum that I currently have, however that is another snag in the learning of anything, loss of momentum or burn out. I am trying to pace myself and keep up a steady programme but boredom is an enemy and also other projects which come in and take over your life from left field – under the heading ‘projects’ I also loosely include sickness which can really scupper all your best efforts from time to time as was proved directly after Christmas when the extreme pain of my tendonitis caused me to put off the start of my new lessons as I could neither sit up for very long nor dress myself, let alone concentrate on anything.

So a cold is nothing really. I will continue to battle on and promise to “think positive” as my dear friend Brian used to say to me, many moons ago. And speaking of moons. Did anyone see the moon last night? Apparently it was the closest to the earth that it has been in some number of years.

Forgive me if I do not remember how many years, I was too busy staring up at its bright face and impressive size and was in complete awe of the nature of its incredible beauty and wonder……..!

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