This past week I had three evenings of social meetings with Polish friends and neighbors.
Three opportunities to practice my Polish speaking skills
A wide range of topics.
What could any language student ask for?
(sound of toilet flushing)
I let all of it fly away like dust in the air. On Thursday evening I even told my neighbor I had the intention to speak with him in Polish and completely crapped out because my excuse was….wait for it….. “I was tired!
The following night I failed once again to step up and insist on using the language, it was so easy you see to just use English because everyone around me could speak it.
On the Saturday night we were again at home and hosting some guests and that was also ideal because, sometimes, being around too many people in public can be intimidating. That’s real but deep down, AN EXCUSE! I faltered and ate dirt.
This is proof of how difficult it is to break habits and force yourself to do the hardest thing. It is without question the hardest of all aspects of learning a language – speaking it in public with people and having a long conversation. Doing the exercise book, memorizing index cards, practicing grammar, listening to podcasts and reading texts are the easy part.
You sit alone in your safe space and just commit to the work in front of you and take your time. The pressure is minimal the effort is substantial still but it is safe.
Safe to make mistakes, start again, correct oneself, curse oneself and stop when you’ve had enough. Alternatively, having a conversation with someone is the complete opposite, with the pressure at its highest and I can confirm that it is REAL. Unless I muster the courage to break out of the comfort of my English speaking bubble, I will never reach my target improvements and ambition to communicate and understand Polish in a meaningful way. That is the undeniable truth…inescapable, PURE and SIMPLE. The bottom line is unmistakable, I have to now take the hardest road to reach redemption.
There will be other opportunities and now this confession can stand as a turning point in attitude to do what I know needs to be done. I need to climb this mountain with all the pressure of the wind in my face. GO GO, UP UP AND FURTHER!