Ugh, guys, learning a language can be so frustrating. So frustrating! I’ve never thought of myself as a language person – someone for whom learning languages is fun and easy – so that was my biggest fear about moving to Denmark. Also, I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and the try and fail method of language learning that you just have to go through to get to fluency was not made for someone who is a bit of a perfectionist. I knew this about myself going in, so I’ve tried to just grit my teeth and push through it, accepting my mistakes and laughing them off. It hasn’t been nearly as bad as I feared, particularly because we can get by with speaking English. These days, we usually speak some muddled version of both childish Danish and simplified English depending on where we are, who we’re talking to, and our mood/confidence level on any given day.
But it seems like every time I start to feel like I’m getting somewhere with Danish, I take five thousand mega steps back. First, it was Christmas break over which the language school was closed. So I went for a whole month without speaking Danish at all. Coming back after that was…challenging to say the least. Most recently, it was our Easter trip. We were gone for a measly 10 days, and yet it still feels like I’ve lost the flow. I’m no longer in the zone.
I’ve never learned a language like this before – in the country with the language all around me – but it turns out that regularly hearing and seeing that language, even if just for a few minutes a day, is a huge help in quickly learning it. And being removed from that environment really drags down your progress. Who knew?!
So I’m just dutifully doing my Danish homework and trying my hardest to speak Danish when I can. It’s especially hard right after coming back from a break like this because I can hear myself stumble and falter, and even words and phrases I know I know don’t come easily to my tongue. But I’ve been through this before, and they do eventually start coming more easily. It’s just “grin and bear it” time.