Sunday, October 4, 2009

Empathy

Helen Keller lived a very challenging life.
Let me just explain something to you people out there reading this here blog. I am in Switzerland learning High German, however, in Switzerland this is not the language they speak. The Swiss speak Swiss German, which is an entirely different language.
When the kids go to school they have to speak in the High German and the teachers teach in the High German, but at home, out in the towns or cities, they speak Swiss German. Which means for me, a sad little exchange students who struggle simply with the High German has no chance. I can’t understand anything unless they switch, it’s a bit of a bizarre situation. I’m in a country to learn a language they don’t speak. Weird right?
Despite this, my German has improved vastly in the time that I’ve been here. I’m far from fluent, but much further down the road to being fluent than I was before. Honestly you just start to pick it up from hearing it all the time. You start noticing which words are used the most often and slowly, slowly you start to grasp the meanings of those words and then the meanings of the sentences. Every time I understand a whole conversation it’s like I can hear a chorus of angels singing and see heaven opening because that’s how thrilled I am.
Not understanding what’s going on, always feeling unintelligent, and like I’m half my age has been the hardest part of the exchange, hence the Helen Keller reference. I don’t think I need to tell you who she is, but let’s just say I’ve developed a lot of empathy for her over the past two months.
All I have is a language barrier; Helen Keller had a whole lot worse and she did amazing things with her life. It’s definitely inspiring.

3 comments:

Riley said...

Hailey,
I know what you mean. I'm learning Spanish at my new school, and I know it is not as hard, but it's still challenging. But by the time you get home, you will have it down. You will be able to do full coversations and we won't know what the heck you're talking about. I hope your having a fun time! I miss you! If you give me your email maybe we can talk more!

Love,
Riley

April said...

I think you're amazing!

Every time I read your blog or talk to your mom I think, "She is amazing!"

Did you know that?

Gaylene said...

Hi Hailey,

You are INSPIRING! I found your blog on Julianne's! You are still just as funny and all the more entertaining now that I can read all about your experiences. Enjoy the times you have there. This is such a great time for you. Hang on to those Blissful moments. There will always be some of that in your life , no matter how old you are!