Monday, July 2, 2007

Slovak for Laura...


As you all know, I am trying to learn Slovak. In fact, this is a picture of my Slovak text book. Isn't it all nice and colorful? Yes. I think so too. And, like most textbooks (at least the ones I remember from high school), all the pictures inside are extremely outdated. I don't mind though, because they sometimes provide me with entertainment when I'm supposed to be studying. You've got to love that sweet 90's fashion... tapered jeans for everyone!!!

Anyhow, this language is extremely difficult. Well, at least for me it is. I never thought I had a natural tallent for languages, but then again this is the first language I've REALLY tried to learn (I was a bit of a slacker when it came to Latin and Spanish). And it's quite demoralizing to accept that I sound like a 2 year old most of the time. But, such is life when you move to a different culture.

So, the other day I was having lunch at my friend Zuzka's house. She is married to one of my teammates, Draho, and they have 3 little kids. While I was there I started playing with their oldest son, Oliver. Oli is 4 years old, and he actually attends an English pre-school. So, he and I had a nice little communication thing going on. He understood most of my English, and I understood most of his Slovak (considering he's 4 and uses basic words... but hey, that's something). While we were playing, he decided he wanted me to read to him, and brought me a Slovak children's book. However, this was no See Spot Run. This was like a mini novel. With long paragraphs and what not. I was intimidated. But, the kid wanted me to read, and I didn't want to disappoint. So I started reading... or should I say stumbling... through the first sentence. When I finished trudging through that first line, I turned to look at Oli. He had his hand on his forehead and was shaking his head. That's right, my Slovak totally got judged by a 4 year old. Impressive, huh?

And, no. He didn't have me read any more of the book.

8 comments:

Michael said...

That is awesome! I think this will happen to me a lot when I go. At least you were brave enough to read it. I am proud!

I will be there in the Fall hopefully. It depends on support though

Tabita said...

Dear Laura, you take these things too much to your heart. Don't worry - it will get better!!! And if not, you're not the one to judge yourself. After all, it was God who decided to send you here. And if it wasn't for your perfect language skills I am sure He had other reasons. Liba

Will said...

Don't make me come over there and start high kicking kids in the face. I've gotten pretty good at destroying children Laura so just keep that in mind next time you're trying to read Slovak bedtime stories to children. Wait, this can't be my sister. What imposter wrote this post!!

Sarah Burton said...

Oh, what a priceless story. I couldn't stop picturing that photo of Zuzka "judging" her baby. So then I could picture Oli doing the same. However, I am also with Liba (hi Liba). God did send you there, and he will iron out the details. I can't wait to hear you talk! You will impress me. I shant judge. That's a promise.

Leah said...

Laura,
I was just catching up on all your old posts, and I read the one about your ugly cry at the 3-month mark. I remember where I was at my 3-month mark. Believe it or not, I was spending Easter in Venice, Italy...and the whole time I was wishing I could be here in the States. I know it sounds crazy to most (and it sounds crazy to me now), but I would have traded Venice for good ol' South Carolina at that moment. What I can tell you is that you'll never regret the time you're spending there. It's okay to cry when you miss home. Keep investing in the lives of Slovak teenagers! I'm thinking of you and praying for you!

Leah said...

Laura,
One more thing--a great Slovak book is called Slovencia pre Cudcincov. It's completely in Slovak (with pictures) so it helps you to learn vocab without having to translate it into English all the time. It's got a blue cover and they used to sell it at Art Forum.

Also, keep hanging out with the little ones! They are a great resource for practicing language:)!!

Ferris said...

It's impressive that you were reading a story to a little child. The Slovak nation is softening your heart to those under 40 inches tall.

Ada said...

Hey Laura,
I just found your blog so I thought that I will write you something here...I wanna say that I'm so happy that We've finally got to hang out on Sunday.I hope that we can hang out more,because I really want to get to know you better!Today was fun,dancing in front of that big group,haha...You're awesome!Keep being that cool!and..."I'm hot cause I fly you ain't cause you not."