Sane At Home Mom

Hunkering Down: Learning the Indonesian Language Week 2

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Let’s Start With A True Story

This week’s work commenced last Saturday when, while visiting a nearby mall, I told my husband “jangan bantu saya, mau berlatih bahasa indonesia saya” (do not help me, I want to practice my Indonesian).

I went in to a store selling women’s accessories and, as expected, was approached by the attendant. She was explaining something about an ongoing promotion, which I understood by just focusing on key words (and the promotional signs). I asked something in my broken Indonesian, she realized I didn’t speak the language and, as I have observed many times in the past, answered by speaking so very fast that all I understood was the language’s signature rolling “R” ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Good Lord, help me. Whenever this happens, I want to revert to English so that it’s them having the headache, not me! (That’s my frustrated reaction).

But I soldiered on.

I asked her to please speak slowly, that I was still learning the language – all this in perfect Indonesian because by now this phrase is burned into my brain. Her reaction was one I interpreted to be akin to mockery, complete with that side-smile and downcast eyes. She then removed herself from the scene/situation โ˜น๏ธ

Now, I am not saying they all react discouragingly like this (although I do remember another store attendant who also attended to me with an air of annoyance). I don’t know what that lady’s problem was or what she was thinking at the time. Although I managed to walk out that store with 2 sets of lovely earrings (and 2 bracelets for my eldest), I spent a good part of the weekend feeling disheartened.

Jeez, it sure feels like “arse” to feel incompetent like that.

๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’

Here’s how the rest of week 2 went:

Monday

Lesson 49. Done!

Tuesday

Lesson 50 & 51. Done!

The cleaning lady praises my efforts for learning the language. She calls me “pandai” (smart/clever). She goes as far as to compare me with other expat wives who go back to their home countries with nada an Indonesian word under their belts.

Finally some encouragement!

I feel like I’m Wonder Woman ๐Ÿ˜€

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Wednesday

Lesson 52 & 53. Done!

Thursday

Something unpleasant happened the evening before. So today I just want to soak my brain in positivity and possibility.

And knit.

Friday

It took me all the king’s horses and all the king’s men to go back and tackle lesson 54 again.

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Week 2 Conclusion:

On speaking with the locals ~ Most of the time, my frustration is that they don’t speak slowly when they reply. They only try to choose other words to explain the same thing but this just confuses me even more. They appreciate the effort I make, but it’s as though they get self-conscious when they respond that they just want to get it over with by speaking very fast and leaving it at that. And if the person being spoken to happens to know a bit of English, he will respond in English so that I am no better off than when I started.

But, I am fortunate to have a cleaning lady who knows enough English for us to be able to communicate. She’ll be taking on a more active role in this process moving forward ๐Ÿ˜

On studying:

It still feels like punishment.

 

… to week 3, and beyond!

The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

Not This Year

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When I was still climbing the career ladder I was a very goal oriented employee. I would reverse engineer the annual performance review by picking out in advance the areas I wanted to stand out in, and proceeded to take on the shiniest projects that would showcase my excellence in those areas.

I had this system so well down pat that when I became a housewife I experienced some sort of crisis. It felt like I was let loose all of a sudden and all that freedom was just confusing, I didn’t know what to do with it.

For maybe a year or two I had a notebook and pen and wrote down monthly goals such as “learn to cook 2 new recipes”, or “learn to knit beginner’s level”, or “lose X number of lbs”.

But there was no annual review to prepare for, no boss to wow, no gold stars to earn & show-off on my imaginary wall of fame that I slipped into nonchalance. I set vague goals that I forgot the following week. Or, I didn’t follow through, or I list so many that I overwhelm myself into catatonia all the while thinking that I have all the time in world to do them anyway.

Lately though I have become conscious of it and I do not like it. The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that I’m not even showing up for myself. I say I will do something but I don’t even honor my word.

So I went back to my notebook, looked at the goals I set for this year and decided to re-commit. It’s not yet too late, I can still hunker down and make a dash for the finish line.

My goals for this year were/are:

  1. ย lose post-pregnancy weight – but I didn’t specify how much and how to do it (because, who cares except me, right?)
  2. ย learn Indonesian – I bought an online course & some books that are now just gathering dust in some nondescript drawer
  3. start a separate blog dedicated to crafting – I did partially discuss this here, but I failed to clarify that I wanted a separate, topic specific blog because I want to do something with it later

I still wrote down a couple or 3 more but that’s just my sneaky brain trying to overwhelm me again and disperse my focus.

I am deciding to take deliberate action on these goals for the remaining 6 months so that at the end of 2018 I will have finished the things I set out to do. This matters because I don’t want to have to do them again next year, I want to create space for new goals in 2019.

And perhaps, even more importantly, I don’t want to excel at quitting, I want to excel at staying committed.

 

Photo by han song on Unsplash