Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm an idiot

I'm in trouble. This morning as we were sipping our hot bevvies in bed, Mr Zeus told me off for not bothering with my Greek anymore, and I didn't protest the truth of this statement.

Somewhere in October I called up my regular free classes to see what was up, since they were meant to call me with dates and times and had not. Turns out there is no third level class, which is interesting because these are the classes that immigrants are supposed to attend in order to sit an exam that proves their proficiency in Greek, so if nothing beyond level 1 and 2 is on offer, what are these people supposed to do?

I should speak more Greek but the problem is this: sometimes I speak perfect Greek and other times I can barely string a sentence together. It's irritating and makes me feel stupid, so I avoid it if I can. I tell myself that if my Greek is good enough to give relationship advice to a Greek friend, then I don't need classes, but the reality is it takes me thrice as long to say "Your boyfriend is a loser" in Greek than in English.

It's infuriating to me that I am still so crap at Greek that I need more classes. I hate being reminded that instead of frolicking around online, I should be brushing up on my grammar. It feels like being five years old again. I'm 25! I should be able to do what I want godammit!

But Mr Zeus is right. He has no sympathy that the 3 year old next door has overtaken me in vocabulary and my godson is bound to follow soon. Can you imagine the buttock clenching mortification of that? Anyone got any ideas? I don't want to go back to Hellenic American again, they were barely average.

Another more interesting problem is that I want to learn how to swim better. I can just about swim to save my life if I had to, and I have, but I thought I'd use the winter to get better. Unfortunately for a former desert-dweller like me, a grown woman who can't swim is so unheard of in Greece that the only classes on offer at the local pool are for those parentally neglected midgets who were never taught to swim before they could walk like all Greek children are.

I complain, but I can guarantee you that if such a class existed, I'd be too lazy or socially anxious to attend. Social anxiety is something that I abandoned in my late teens and has revisited me here in Greece where I am self conscious of the fact that I look like good company until I open my mouth and then I just come across as an idiot who has been in Greece since last June and still can't hold a conversation in Greek.

An impressive amount of complaints on this sunny Greek winter day. Oh well, at least it's the weekend.



AL said...

You are doing more than fine. It's just one of those damn days thats all. In fact you know foreigners who have been here a decade and don't speak as well as you do.

hugs! i hate the stress of being made to feel like i'm a moron or born with a defect just cause i havent learnt any by now!

Rositta said...

How about private lessons? I have two uni educated Canadian born nieces in Athens who both teach English. They are your age and not only are they good they are fun to be around. Email me if interested in their info...ciao
ps. I've been married to Mr. Greek over 20 yrs and don't speak Greek. On the other hand, he can't speak any Germany either so it evens out.:)

Hope said...

Bollybutton, I think you're being too hard on yourself.

It's tough learning a new language at our age. I say be patient--definitely get private lessons--and you'll be fiiiiiine.

But, I get the whole 'feeling like an idiot', especially when a Greek tells me "Why isn't your Greek better? You're Greek! You've been here 6 years. You should be fluent."

I just stick my tongue out at them because seriously? I'm doing the best I can here. :)

CaliforniaKat said...

That's why I'll never get citizenship after 12 years here. They don't offer the class I need to get the certificate, as I mentioned on my site. Oh well. I'd only have to wait another 2-9 years for a rejection or approval, and I'll be in another country with another life long before that.

I could swear you said you were proficient and could carry conversations in previous posts.


bollybutton said...

Hi Kat, yes I've said in the past that I can carry on conversations, and I can, except with horrendous grammar. My Greek is what I describe as survival level: if you threw me on an island with only Greek speaking Greeks I'd get by, but I make a lot of mistakes. Also the amount of times I leave Athens doesn't help because it literally takes a few days of hearing English for my Greek level to slip again. Maybe I need one more set of classes to re-learn some basic grammar and then I should be able to learn on the road