In het Nederlands...
I’ve been feeling like a bit of a spy lately, or maybe just the nosiest person in the world. I often pretend to scroll around on my phone while listening intently on my targets. I’ve been ease-dropping on every single conversation around me in Dutch. No, I’m not trying to understand what the Dutch really gripe about nor intimate relationship issues, I’m just trying to improve my language skills.
I like to think the cheese possesses magical properties
Some people speak to me in English others in Dutch. I learned a few years ago that if I’m holding a cheese wedge, the ratio skews much toward Dutch. I like to think the cheese possesses magical properties, a kind of enchantment from the centuries of tradition soaked into it, windmill magic, or perhaps more realistically it evokes a visual cue - but who knows if such deep mysteries could ever be unraveled.
All my Dutch is self-taught. Back in the United States, I spent a year teaching first grade at an elementary school. One of the main tasks at this level is teaching children how to read: first focusing on high frequency words and then reading. I figured if it worked for them then why not me? My hard work did pay off. I appreciate doing everything I could back in America now. I appreciate the hours I spent in the evening learning new words as I’m trying to carefully read the letters of centuries old cursive or when I’m reading more current text about the Dutch Enlightenment - though, there are some things I did not anticipate such as archaic Dutch spellings. I know to count these as the usual frustrations that accompany growth.