An ambition achieved, a big lesson learned and a bit of 'agitation'!

Sorry about the length of this post, a bit self-indulgent, but I wanted to get across some of my enthusiasm at the moment for learning Welsh.

We are privileged to be able to visit Aberdaron on a regular basis, and we spend a lot of the year travelling around the Llyn. When I started learning Welsh back in 2011 I was a bit sceptical that I would ever get any further than the first few lessons; mainly because I have never really persevered at anything worthwhile before. Back in 2011 I set myself a bit of an ambition; and that was to speak Welsh at Nant Gwrtheyrn. This week I achieved that ambition… We visited the village and I was able to order our meal in the cafe without even apologising for my poor welsh, and then when I walked back to our table a couple of older Welsh people said hello to me in Welsh. A really great moment for me, and not possible without SSIW or everyone in this ‘community’. Diolch yn Fawr Iawn !!

The second part of this post concerns me meeting a toddler (1st language Welsh) who wanted me to kick a football a long way across a field. When he is older I will have to confess to him that at school I was mercilessly bullied for my lack of prowess at this game; but for now I will happily remember his face when I booted the ball across the field and his jaw dropped. He ran after the ball and then came running back to me saying, “Cicio Fawr, Cicio Fawr”. Two things happened here, one instantly and one a bit later.

The first was that I understood what he wanted me to do without having to listen; a tiny fragment of Welsh had become second nature to me, and I never thought that this would ever be possible! After checking with his parents, I asked him if he wanted to walk to the farm to see the cows (in Welsh) and suddenly I was using Welsh for a purpose rather than just for the purposes of practising. It was a small but ‘Fawr’ moment for me.

Later on when I was thinking about the day it struck me that I needed to be much more ‘childlike’ in my approach to learning. My learning journey needs to be wide-eyed and “jaw-dropping”, not stilted and full of self-doubt.

The last thing that I wanted to write about my ‘Welsh Adventure’ is that we visited a cafe for a morning coffee during our holiday. This cafe is probably one of the most westerly cafe’s in the British Isles, never mind Wales. My point is that Welsh is probably spoken by close to 100% of the local population. Buoyed by my new found confidence I decided to order in Welsh and turned the Menu over to look for the Welsh Version… I was really shocked to find that there was not a Welsh alternative and that got me to thinking what it must be like to live in a country where your language is ignored, either tacitly or otherwise. What would it feel like to go to the supermarket and have to translate the labels on the items you wish to buy because ‘big business’ does not think it is economically viable to label products in your own language! So, this is the tiny bit of ‘agitation’ in my post, I decided to ask for a copy of the Menu in Welsh… I am afraid that I was given a few blank looks, an mumbled apology, a comment about tourists wanting them in English and a vague assurance that the Manager would think about having Menu’s in Welsh… From now on I am always going to ask for a copy of the Menu in Welsh, and an application to join Cymdeithas yr Iaith will be on its way once I have translated the various membership options available, which I found very ironic in the circumstances!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Thank you SSIW, inch-by-inch I am being able to to reclaim the language that was taken from my family, particularly my Nanna, and more determined to finish this journey and cannot wait for Bootcamp!!!

Andy :slight_smile:

Thank you Andy for sharing your thoughts so openly and honestly - your journey is not only interesting but also, quite obviously a very emotional one and we feel privilege to be part of it.

Thank you also to you and Sharon for welcoming us to your caravan in Aberdaron, for your wonderful hospitality, to your children for entertaining my children so very well and a big diolch from that toddler for the football match and for the trip to see the cows. :slight_smile:

Wonderful story Andy. Thanks for sharing.

A pleasure on all counts… :slight_smile:

Superb Andy, very inspirational. Keep up the great work. I’d love to do another bootcamp, you’re going to love it.

Andy Lowe: …a bit self-indulgent, but…

Absolutely not, Andy. SSiWers who haven’t achieved what you have yet need this kind of testimonial / inspiration / evidence that what they are aiming for is more than just a pipe dream.

I read it last night, and I’ve just re-read it now - you’ve given me a huge beaming smile!


Later on when I was thinking about the day it struck me that I needed to be much more ‘childlike’ in my approach to learning. My learning journey needs to be wide-eyed and “jaw-dropping”, not stilted and full of self-doubt.

And there’s a motto for us all…:smile:

Thank you! That’s an inspiration. I too visit Wales regularly and next time I go will set myself the challenge to try out my Welsh. thanks so much to everyone at SSIW I love every minute I spend practising.