Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A conversation...

Yesterday, I had a conversation via FaceTime with my Grandmother, for over an hour, completely in Estonian. This was a first and boy did it feel amazing! 

Throughout my journey learning this seemly impossible language, I have always struggled with the speaking part. Ask me to translate a simple Estonian text into English, Ok. Write an email in Estonian making a reservation for dinner? Fine. But when it comes to having a spontaneous conversation, I clam up like a timid mouse, afraid of the unknown. 

Yesterday, I felt like I am finally tackling this beast.  I was having a back and forth conversation about a range of topics. I understood and could be understood. Yes, my grammar was terrible, but who cares? 

The best part of the whole experience was seeing my Grandmother's immense pride and surprise during the conversation. It was like I could feel it through the computer screen.  She was proud of me. She was so patient with me; waiting while I found a word I wanted to use, speaking slowly and clearly if she could see I was getting lost. 

If I am being honest, I am learning this language mostly for my own self- satisfaction.  I don't need it for my job, or visa and I could get around day to day with English just fine. I want to prove to myself that I can do it! However upon reflection, I realise I am also doing this for her. To see that sparkle in her eyes when we converse in her native tongue.

My Vanaema and I when I was last back home in August. 

It took me a while to get back to writing after the March Challenge. I think it overwhelmed me a bit. However,  I do think writing is a good opportunity to consolidate my thoughts, dreams and goals. Plus, I encourage my students to write, so why shouldn't I? 


  1. What a gift for your grand mother... and for you in fond memories you will have of the conversations you shared with her.

  2. As a teacher you know that the only way to get better at anything is to practice, practice, practice. Speaking to grandmother is a joyful practice.

  3. How awesome! I marvel at how young children seem to be able to pick up languages so effortlessly...and how as adults, we struggle with learning the simplest vocabulary words in a second (or third) language. Good for you! And how special that you got to have that conversation, in Estonian, with your grandmother. Thanks for sharing!