Hello, pwab. I just wanted to pop in to say a bit about how I am feeling on my first SSiW penblwydd.
I relate so much to everything Aran says about a sense of loss at not being a Welsh speaker. I grew up hearing my mum and my nain chatting away in Welsh and kind of following what they were talking about. But like so many people of her generation, my mum was convinced that Welsh was dying out and so there was no point teaching me to speak it - especially as we were heading for Canada.
By the time I came back to Britain ten years later, there had been a massive revival of Welsh. I spent nearly forty years regretting never having learnt, but never quite managing to do anything about it. But all that changed a year ago today, when (at the age of 59) I downloaded my first lesson on SSiW.
As it happened, I was just too early for the six month courses, as I had started Level 2 by the time they got going. But I pushed on and finished Level 3 in early summer, then I found out about the Hangouts on Slack and started joining in on Monday and Friday evenings as often as I could.
Now we also have the wonderful Beca a phobl scwrs to look forward to every Friday. And I have been back and picked up the Level 2 high-speed listening challenges and Level 3 lessons 21-25 that weren’t there when I was tackling the challenges earlier in the year.
There are still reams of vocabulary that wash all over me, of course. First language speakers are often way too fast for me (speeded up listening challenges notwithstanding!) And when it’s my turn to speak, words I know perfectly well vanish from my brain. But I know Aran would tell me to focus on the positive.
This time last year, the longest thing I could say in Welsh was Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda. Now the longest sustained conversation I have had was 40 minutes long with a fe!low learner. I have listened to (and grasped the gist of) Welsh dramas on Radio Cymru, read the scripts for Un Bore Mercher in the BBC Script Library. And I have talked to my mother in her first language!
A couple of days ago, Iestyn said to me “2019 will be your first whole year as a Welsh speaker” and it made me cry. I am soooo grateful to everyone here who has made this possible . And I look forward to meeting some of you at the Parti Penblwydd in May.
So thank you so much to all of you, the SSiW team and the community here and on Slack, for making this such an incredible, life-changing year!