Admittedly, I adore learning foreign languages. It makes up for the nightmare English lessons I endured as a child. For some reason, my brain is attracted to the exotic sounds of other tongues. As a small child I used to mimic the accents of my favourite TV shows, my attempts at the Scottish dialect of SuperGran drove my parents crazy, which tickled me no end. I loved the reaction I got when I drifted into any type of accent, and my poor family was forced to sit through countless performances as I strove for perfection.
At school, French became my best subject within nanoseconds of my first lesson. As soon as I entered the classroom, I took on the persona of ‘Simone’, the name given to me by my teacher. Suddenly, I was French … (not literally, but in my imagination) and I shrugged and waved my hands about with natural Gallic flair. I was intoxicated and absorbed the language like a sponge.
When the time came to then learn German, I was first in the queue. Gone was the subtle, soothing sounds of French, in its place came a harsher, more aggressive tone. Words that combined to make even longer words were my particular favourites. It was a kind of Heaven filled with tongue-twisters.
At university, I switched to Spanish and finally found my true home. My love affair with all things Spanish had begun and it was inevitable that I would eventually move to Spain permanently. Whilst, I am still obsessed with the language, it is the lifestyle, people and culture that now keep me here. The language was merely the hook that enticed me here.
These days, I’m still enthralled by new sounds, to the extent that I recently took courses in Tagalog (Filipino) and Mandarin – both at the same time! I’m a sucker for punishment, but … the opportunity to learn both came at the same time, and I was powerless to refuse. Somehow, I think I’ll be following the same path for the rest of my days. If it means that I can travel further afield and make myself understood, then it’s no bad thing. But I will undoubtedly return to Spain.
The moral of this story is that education can take you anywhere in life, it can even take you home!