Monday, June 21, 2010

The Home Stretch

There's a scene in the film The Mummy where sleazy Benny encounters the wretched mummy for the first time. As the mummy moves closer, Benny shakily pulls out a cross pendant from around his neck and starts reciting a prayer from the bible. Seeing that the mummy isn't impressed, he pulls out a huge collection of diverse religious pendants and holds them up one by one, hoping one of them will stop the mummy in its tracks.

That's how I feel now. I'll pray to any god to get me through the last 3 weeks of language training. I'm open to anything to keep the frustration at bay. I've tried yoga and kickboxing. I may start putting a shot of vodka in my orange juice in the morning. Or Xanax.

Language training is all about sucking. It's just a matter of degrees. You will never be a native speaker/reader of the language you're studying, so you will always suck to some degree. So each day in training is an analysis of how much you suck that day. I'm tired of sucking. I wonder how much vodka I'll need to get through 3 weeks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Field Trip

This afternoon one of my instructors took me on a field trip to a shopping plaza that had several Indian stores to practice speaking Nepali about everyday things. I give my instructor brownie points for trying to do something different. But this was just painful.

I am anti-social. I don't do small talk. So you'll understand why 2 hours of chit chat in Nepali was excruciating.

In the Indian grocery store:

Instructor: Heatherji, look at all the different kinds of food. This store is very different from Giant, isn't it?

Me: Oh yes, what a large variety of food. It is very different from Giant.

Instructor: Look at these vegetables? Do you like green onions?

Me: Of course I like green onions.

At the Indian book store:

Instructor: Look, Heatherji, there are many books about the Hindu religion.

Me: I found a few books about Buddha.

Instructor: Look, here is a Nepali-English dictionary.

Me: How nice. But it is very expensive.

You get the idea. Meaningless small talk in English is annoying. Meaningless small talk in another language is brutal. The best part was trying some Samosa Chaat in a small Indian cafe. Yum!