I’m dying to keep writing about the language difficulties, but I don’t have enough time tonight and I wanted to get some things down here anyway. Next time.
I read something somewhere in the last few months and it’s stuck with me. Some quote from an author about how deep inside of these adult facades is a small, shy child who just wants attention and acceptance. Obviously I’ve done a poor job of paraphrasing an artist’s words, but nevertheless, bear with me.
It seems to me that when I look around me, the people in my life are ageless. My two year old nephew with his new tantrums and jealous fits, has the same needs and insecurities as my much older boss, who relishes telling his adorably lame jokes to the teaching department. Attention, acceptance/understanding & love. As I said, the more I look around , the more the wrinkles and the grey hairs, or the trendy clothes seem so irrelevant.
I’m not trying to be all kumbaya here. It’s seriously an odd feeling for me right now. I feel like I’ve been given a new set of eyes to see the child at the heart of things. Age seems so irrelevant. Are we really growing, or are we just learning how to hide our delicate inner-child from pain and rejection and censure?
Anyway that’s the extent of my philosophizing today.
The bf is back with his parents. His mom broke her leg and can’t really walk at all for the time being. It’s even odd for me to admit this, because I really like my space and doing things my way, but I am honestly so worried about his parents and what they will do when he moves out, that if I weren’t already 4 hours away, I would be making plans to get an apartment or residence where they could live with/near us. This is how Greek I’ve become. His dad gets so bored and lonely when the bf is gone. And when his mom isn’t feeling good, she could sit back without worrying so much about cleaning and cooking. Also I like eating together and speaking Greek and giving them some company and laughter. And they are too good to me. I know the bf worries too, but he’s been dying to move out for so long and knows my opinion about Greek men living with their parents, so I think I really blew his mind today when I mentioned this.
Who knew within 4 years my bf would take his independent American girlfriend and turn her into a sentimental overly-attached, typically Greek woman…. (or at least a good copy 😉 )
Right now there are two things: I don’t recognize the person I am right now. What are these emotions that get the better of me? Why don’t I care about socializing and what others think of me? Why am I so skeptical of people who want to get to know me? Why am I so awkward in my native language and so happy speaking Greek and German? The other thing is, I’m letting this all be, without judgment and self-criticism. This is the stage I’m in and I’ll get a handle on the situation soon enough. There’s is no point in hurrying it, or deciding what is “wrong” before I understand why it occurs.
I did some networking tonight at my work (late) Christmas dinner. It was necessary and awkward, but it was good practice and I kept my mouth shut and listened. I didn’t force conversation and I learned some things. And whatever people think of me, is none of my business and not going to help me reach my goals.
I just need to extend this mentality to my attitude towards speaking foreign languages. I still struggle with coping with the discouragement and feedback, stemming from what I am convinced, is my status as a native English speaker and my tangible insecurity.
So the bf left today and I got lots of university work done and went to this dinner to keep my emotions at bay. It took so long this time to get back into the nice habits of how our relationship was in Nbg, back when all the boring daily chores made me realize how lucky I was. You make new habits being alone for 2 months. Even the wrong tone of voice can lead to hurt feelings and miscommunication. What sucks the most is that every time we see each other, we have to work at getting back to this level. But nonetheless, getting it back for Christmas break was still the best present I could ask for.
My bf isn’t full of romantic gestures. Doing the dishes, picking up dinner when I’ve had a long day, arranging things the way he knows I like it, making me watch football and take a study break, telling me how good dinner was, these are the I-love-yous that can’t be said over a phone, that make me feel important and special in this world, that make me feel like a spoiled child, even without money, full-time jobs, wedding plans, our families, a place to call our own.
Maybe we are all just big kids after all. I’m not afraid of going after any of my goals but without him I feel shy and unable to share myself with others. Even when I want to and I know it’s for the best.