Being married to a Puerto Rican, getting an A in GCSE, visiting Spain and having a half Puerto Rican baby you would have thought I'd know a little Spanish at least....
As a 'hijabi' I have been been spoken to in Arabic several times - the other person obviously assuming I'm Arab or speak the language... or at least some of it. Having studied the language in Morocco for 4 months and interacted with the local people in their language you would think I would be able to speak some... by now... since that was 5 years ago so I should have had time to get the point of holding a basic conversation by now... right???
Sadly very very wrong. Alas! My Arabic is terrible and my Spanish is worse. Yet I lament my lack of language skills on an almost weekly basis, I wish I'd grown up speaking Gujarati, I wish I'd done Spanish at A-level, I wish I'd kept up my Arabic after Morocco, I wish I'd taken advantage of maternity leave and practised another language while I didn't have work to preoccupy me....
Alhamdulillah my husband and I are sponsoring a child in Gaza. However him and his family don't speak any English.
We also, praise be to God, have a beautiful 7 month old little boy who is just starting to babble, starting to learn to speak...
As a Muslim I believe it is very important to be able to understand (at least in part) the Book that we are supposed to base our lives on, not just read it like a robot, at least, that's what I'm always telling people...
I also just re-wrote my C.V. and paused when I got to the part that said in my spare time I am 'interested in languages, particularly Arabic and Spanish'... it make me think... am I really?? Why do I keep wishing I could do things an saying I want to but not actually doing it?? The only phrase I can clearly remember in Arabic is how to say 'I want to learn Arabic' because I said it so many times.
I think I need to do one of two things. Give up on my goals and stop whining, accept that I only speak English and I will never speak anything else, accept that I'm obviously not interested deep down in ever speaking anything else or I would have done it by now (I'm 28 for heaven's sake!).
OR, stop whining and being so lazy, stop being a hypocrite and actually make some damn effort to achieve my goals and give credit to my words. I'm always telling my students to make more effort to achieve their goals... I'm always telling my baby when I see him trying to do something for the first time 'don't give up! you can do it if you try!!'
The other day my husband shared a video with me, which really inspired me. This gentleman has only been Muslim since 1998, he converted as an adult yet by 2008 he has memorised the entire Qur'an and you can see from the video that he's pretty fluent in Arabic (as far as I can tell!). Obviously I don't expect to be able to move to another country and study Arabic intensively like he did, and I'm going to have to leave Gujurati as a regret that the time to change has passed, but who do I want to be?
An inspiration and a role model to Isa? Do I want him to have the chance of growing up speaking more than one language, growing up understanding and learning from what he's saying in his salaah instead of just carrying out a set of exercises 5 times a day? Do I want him to be able to communicate with his great grandma in the same language? Or do I want their conversations to be limited to single works. Do I want him to ask me why he needs to bother learning another language or trying hard at anything for that matter when his own mum couldn't even make the effort to do it?
That shouldn't even be a question.
If anyone else has learnt another language as an adult or has taught their children another language (or simply achieved a big goal in your life that required a lot of effort) and has any tips or experiences to share please leave me a comment below. I need a plan to follow and some goals to set but I'm not sure where to start. Thanks in advance for any support! I need to follow my own advice - I can do it if I try!!!
above - I need to stop being the first two people!!