When I was sent to Hiroshima, Japan (2005) to support a Mazda project (Mazda CX-7), aside from meeting really cool Japanese friends, I also met very friendly Mormon missionaries from the US (from Utah and Hawaii). We talked and then one of them asked me, pretty impressed or probably just being polite, ”how did you learn English?” My answer was, “I learned English singing songs and watching movies.”
Okay, I validated and said, we have English subjects at school and of course I read (thanks to this amazing woman #7, she gave me my first dictionary too!). I have a pretty strong grasp of English as a language, but I still commit grammatical errors and my speaking skills, let’s just say, there is still a lot room for improvement. I am actually planning to enroll in a Toasmasters’ Club soon to work on my public speaking skills, but mostly, to just enjoy the process of learning something new and meeting new friends. It is something of a personal project like for 2011 it was blogging, this year, hopefully, public speaking.
Looking back, nobody did conversed with me in English when I was growing up. At school, oral recitation is not a welcome event for me. I am not categorically shy, but speaking in English was just a tad bit intimidating. So I read. And read some more.
English is the medium of instruction in the schools here. My 4-year-old is learning SHE-HE, IS, ARE, THIS IS, THESE ARE, THOSE ARE, etc. I’ve mentioned here before my appreciation for parents who speak and teach their babies early on, English. I know of friends who have cute English-speaking toddlers. It was my plan too, but I wasn’t able to follow through on it, but now that Mikaela is in school, she gets to practice speaking the language. She is not proficient (yet), compared to her classmates but I am happy she speaks it albeit the wrong constructions and errors, which I gently corrects. I am pretty proud of her actually, errors and all.
A few days back she commented on her father’s unshaved beard and moustache, “Pa, I can see your white hair, your black hair and brown hair.”. The random comment drew out a surprise chuckle from her Pa and Ma. She can get all worked out speaking the English language after marathon sessions of Phineas and Ferb episodes too. And Ayana Rhys, when asked something in English will inevitably answers “Yeah!” American accent. So cute and I’m just happy that they are learning something with the tv time and I re-enforce it (as often as I can) by asking them or speaking to them in English now. It is inarguably a very definite edge when you know how to communicate well using the English language.
Which brings me to the point I am trying to make and that is, about my amazing new friends here in the blogsphere. I am learning and connecting to a whole lot of new culture and experiences because of the English language and what a happy experience it has been and still is and I have become a better person because of these connections. Thank you English language!