Saturday, March 4, 2017

To be understood

As I walked into the brightly lit salon, the mixture of various synthetic smells filling the air and funky house music playing in the background, I felt nervous. I mouth felt like sandpaper, my checks felt flushed and I looked like a sweaty, jittery mess, despite the 3°C weather outside.
'Come on, you can do this,' I told myself.
'Tere! Mul on aeg kinni pandud.' I said to the cute, blonde smiling girl at the front counter.

After 2 years of taking the easy option of speaking English with my hairdressers, today I took the terrifying plunge and put my (very expensive) Estonian lessons to the test with a new hairdresser. I decided to use only Estonian for the entire 1.5 hr exchange;  the explanation of what colour and cut I wanted, the chit chat, the payment, everything. And guess what? I didn't walk out of the salon with blue and purple hair! As I strutted to the car with my sexy new do, I had this compelling urge to give myself a fist pump. I had done it! Yes, the exchange was awkward, uncomfortable and I felt like a 3 year old child with a stutter, but I was understood! And it felt amazing.

Learning this very hard language, having never learnt another language before, has given me a new appreciation and empathy for those students who come into my class with limited English language skills.


  1. Wow -- sounds like you did what you needed to do, and found great success with a tricky language. Speaking as the coach of a Quidditch team whose color is blue (I'll be writing about our school's Quidditch game and tournament during SOL, for sure), I was kind of hoping a little blue hair might be in the mix.

  2. Wow! Bravery and courage - good for you. The only way to strengthen the language skills is to use them. I'm sure your hairdresser was happy to help.

  3. Can't wait to see you on Monday!

  4. Wow! Congrats on trying your new language in the world. A brave and courageous day.

  5. Congrats on your new haircut and the courage it took to use a new language!

  6. How cool! I didn't know you were an international teacher...I am, too! Kudos to you for learning the local language, and well done on the conversation. That's really amazing!

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  7. So brave! Love how you set the goal and did it! And what a wonderful way to have a better understanding of your students learning English! Inspiring!