Monday, August 01, 2005

busy day....???

I have just been reading through wamut ( main san)'s blog, that munanga linguist who has been doing this same job since last November.... and it is strange you know, today was a public holiday and yet *still* I find myself either exhausted or unable to sleep ( which I might, add in case you don't know, is very unusual for me!). I was wondering if wamut had the similar stressed out-but- dont really - know-why feeling. It really does seem you could spend the whole day doing 'things' that dont seem to propel you forward to a goal. Like for example enjoying the space and having some time off, really is something I cant wait to do during the week and then after the weekend i start to feel a bit strange if I havent heard from anyone for half a day, I start thinking, where is everyone??? why no humbug??? . And then some one calls or drops in, and I think, jeez why cant I just have one day without any one humbuggin me ( and feel tired immidiately), but you know what, I feel lonely when every one goes home!! I think the main thing is being able to relax. relax even when I cant understand or anticipate what is going on.... And try not to feel to protective of my space and time...I suppose to recognise the kind of interaction as reciprocal.

This on going saga about a close study space to here continued today. A local employee for the 'centre' came around ( on a public holiday) and took back the keys to the study space that langauge centre had been sharing, and then as she looked around the verandah ( of our very small underfunded, pobala, language centre) and took two nice plastic chairs that she said were hers ( that is, they belonged in the centre next door). They probably were. But I felt some what deflated when she left... everything feels like such a political jungle. even plastic chairs are loaded with overtones of one group in the community trying to rip off another, when if fact we have very similar goals, on one hand it is hard not to sigh and accept that this is just the way it is.... but I know this kind of little drama will continue on, wearing people out rather than inspiring. And it is worth while trying to reach some sort of agreement, some friendly agreement so we can work together. You know I actually do think that this is what everyone wants, people just dont want to feel overlooked or unimportant and so assert their authority. So I try and remember that getting your way is all about being patient and diplomatic and making do with what plastic chairs you have.

I can feel the workload building up on me now school has started and I am trying to not get overwhelmed with the, wait, seven languages ( including Kriol) this language centre is trying to manage!! Lucky we have a pretty dedicated team here... it would be hard to prioritise one langauge over another....

I find the easiest way to relax is to do something predictable and familiar. Like read a book I have already read four times, or go for a walk along a path I have been down many times before... it makes me feel very human in a vulnerable way. Like a little creature seeking comfort in familiar habitat!
Maybe this is why it is so hard for adults to learn a second or third langauge because they have already formed a comfortable habitat and can't immerse themselves in a new one without holding onto some familiar things, and so cant ever completely immerse themselvesin a new culture ( which is proabaly what it takes to *really* learn another language right through). maybe. maybe thats wy it would be easier to learn French or German than one of the languages from here, because even though this is Australia it is a very different culture to what I am used to and I would probably find it easier to feel 'at home' in France or Germany- but then again, maybe that is over simplifying things.... you know?


Blogger Catalin said...

Re: the comfort of the familiar. When we left for Eritrea, I brought very little with me, insisting that I'd live like Eritreans live. After awhile, I understood why it had been suggested to bring some things from home. Strangeness is exhilarating, but exhausting. We started fixating on food. Even though we really loved the local food, we'd sit around talking about familiar and beloved foods from home. Getting a package with some food item, even a candybar that I wouldn't normally eat at home, was somehow a great relief. I think it must be the comfort of the familiar.

I guess everyone has a different mix of the familiar and unfamiliar that lets us feel comfortable yet stimulated.

10:33 pm  
Blogger Wamut said...


don't give yourself any grief over that somebody who works next door. she's just a nasty piece of work and doesn't seem to be very considerate of others.

yu san,

7:21 pm  

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