Unfortunately, I was not gifted the ability to learn languages quickly.
I have a friend who picks them up so quickly, and really loves doing it, but I can barely stumble through a conversation in French despite having studied it on-and-off for seven years (wow, that’s embarrassing to have to admit). I feel guilty about that — I have this great privilege of having English as basically my first language, and so there’s less of a need for me to learn other languages, unlike other people in other parts of the world, for whom learning English is essentially a requirement if they want to get ahead at all.
I tried to learn some Italian before I went to Rome — and to be fair, I did learn a little — but I didn’t learn much more than to say grazie and ciao and scusi. In Budapest, I learned szia, which is hello, and that’s about all. In Copenhagen, I literally didn’t learn anything.
In Croatia, however, compared to the other places I visited, I had more of an opportunity to learn the language because I actually stayed with a Croatian family. I still probably didn’t take as great of an advantage of that opportunity as I should have, but you can’t say I didn’t take advantage of it at all.
Off the top of my head, I can tell you a few phrases that I remember in Croatian — bok, which is “hello;” hvala, which is “thanks;” oprostite, which is “excuse me;” and više juhe, which is “more soup.” The story behind the last one is that Baka (which means “Grandmother”) would make soup every day because it was one of the easiest things for her to eat. As it turned out, my American friend and one of her Croatian cousins both got sick, and also couldn’t eat much more than soup. As a result, the whole family — and by extension, I, as well — ate a lot of juhe that week.
It’s been a few months since I was actually in Croatia, so I don’t remember every word or phrase someone tried to teach me, but I think that’s pretty good. I mean, I was only there for a week, and I learned just about as much Croatian as I learned Italian, and I was in Italy for two months.
If only I could put that level of effort into my French, then maybe I’d be somewhere with it by now.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my life in Europe this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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