Monday, October 11, 2010

Back to school

I have to say, there are some people in life who just love school. That can't seem to get enough of it. They go to primary school, then secondary school, University and then that doesn't isn't enough so they do for their masters and then their doctorate and then a new degree and then another masters and so on and so on and so on. For me I think if I could have left around the 7th grade that would have been perfect. I mean its not to say that I don't like learning because I do. I thrive on it. I eat information for breakfast and want more. What I don't like is the actual classroom. The minute I step inside I feel completely uneasy and lost. I try to find a seat where I can hide from the teacher and other classmates. I especially like to stay away from the really smart people hoping that the teacher will spend all her time talking to them and forget I'm in the room. But, sometimes in life, the places you hate the most are the places you must come back to in order to make peace with the uneasiness in your being. So here I am again back in the classroom. This time studying Thai. Now if you don't know too much about the language let me tell you. There are 44 letters and 5 tones. They don't use a roman alphabet so we are only learning to speak. To speak Thai you must speak the tone of the word. If you get the tone wrong you might tell someone that they are unlucky rather then what you were trying to say that they are beautiful. You can see how the tone is important in thai. I was in the grocery store the other day and was asking where the popcorn was and they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about because I said it in the wrong tone and they use the English word popcorn. They just say it in their own tonal language.

So back in the classroom... I've been learning for one week now and by the end of the class I am exhausted just trying to focus on what is going on and trying to take it all in. I am extremely lucky to have my husband there with me to remind me to stay clam. Every once in a while he looks over and calmly tells me to come back into the room and just focus. He tells me that I am not the only one who does not understand because it is all new and that I will get it but to just breath and stay calm. He's right. I do leave the room. I go into the sad and lonely place of "I'm such a loser. Why can't I get this?". Before this week, I would have never realized that I do that, go to another palce. I wish I would have know him back when I was in school, it would have saved me years of pain and I would have done a lot better in my grades. I mean I know I'm not stupid but those thoughts inside the classroom can throw me down like a snow ball gathering speed and size down a mountain and begin permeating into everything I do. It made me think about how powerless we all feel at one time of another and thinking that, everyone is getting it but us. I wish we all had someone like my husband to remind us to stay in the room, breath and know we will get it and like all new information it takes a while for it to process. Its the same when we walk into a room of people we don't know, or a new job or a new relationship or a new living situation. We get nervous of what other people that we don't know might be thinking of us or nervous that we don't know what to do. But of course we don't know what to do we are just learning something new and if we knew it already we wouldn't be learning. We  just need to breath, stay in the room mentally and enjoy the new information. Nobody ever falls down, we are just learning how to walk and when we can see this the learning is much easier and much more fun. Like children learning to walk, they never get nervous or upset about it they just fall down and while they are there they notice something wonderful on the ground that they didn't see before.
 I'm glad I have this opportunity to be back in the classroom. I feel like its a chance for me to revise my feelings about my early school experiences and learn that learning is all about allowing yourself to be where you are in the moment and enjoying. So to all of you who are trying something new, breath, stay in the room and enjoy the newness of the moment.

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