Someone once told me the most effective way to learn a language is to fall in love. When I began learning German this wasn’t my intention, but it happened nonetheless. Oh darn!
It is hard to learn a new language as an adult. There are sounds that my mouth is just never going to be able to say, not matter how many times someone corrects me. There are words that will just never stick in my vocabulary. And my brain has spent the first twenty-plus years thinking one way, and now I am asking it to completely up-end that and start over?! Good luck!
I am 100% certain I would have given up on the endeavor to learn German shortly after I started, if it wasn’t for the fact that I had fallen head-over-heels for a handsome, kind, silly, thoughtful, consistent German.
I not only needed to learn German if I was ever going to be able to enjoy and participate in family dinners, but also if I was ever going to really know the man I had fallen for. It didn’t matter that his English was perfect, and we could talk completely unhindered about anything. There was still the fact that we were conversing in his second language. The more German I learned, the more I realized there was still a whole other side to my man. The man he was in his most comfortable element; expressing himself in the language he thought and dreamt in.
As my German improved, the more I was able to admire and experience him in his natural state. It was like I got to fall in love with him twice.
His support and help in my journey to learn his language has also given me so many swoon worthy memories.
In our first couple months dating, it didn’t matter that I had no idea what the words meant, when he would snuggle me close and whisper sweet nothings, my heart knew exactly what he was saying.
When he sent me flash cards to learn, so I would be able to decipher and understand the love-letter he wrote, my brain was all swirly with vocabulary and oxytocin.
Then there was the time he organized a backyard drive-in movie night with friends and played The Little Mermaid in German. And a couple months later when he split the movie into 1 minute increments and transcribed the scenes, made a vocabulary sheet of the difficult words, and wrote out a handful of questions for me to answer, and him to correct…. I totally had a crush on my teacher!
On my birthday last week he sent me another cassette tape (thanks to him I have a growing collection; hipster alert!) but this one was different from all the previous amazingly thoughtful mix tapes. He had created and recorded the content! In another grand gesture to encourage my German learning, he read and recorded old German bedtime stories for me! Complete with a packet of the stories, so I can read along, and have vocabulary help. He is an audio engineer and musician, so this is no boring, thoughtless reading! There are sound effects, original music and hilarious character voices (he even got a friend to chime in and help!). Talk about time and effort! And my brother says, “Doesn’t he know he could have just bought you a bracelet?!” Psh… not my guy!
Learning another language was a personal goal of mine, but it quickly became more than that. What began as a way to learn and grow for myself has evolved into a way to express my love to a man who makes it worth every ounce of effort. It not only has stretched my mind, it has enriched our bond as we work towards a forever future.