Thank you from a new Welsh learner in the U.S.A

Hello, everyone! My name is Sasha Quickstar (Sasha is fine :wink: ) and I live in Sacramento, California in the United States. I found out about SSiW on the DuoLingo forum some time back and did my first challenge about two and a half weeks ago. I have been on a journey of self-discovery after my birth-mother’s adoption records were unsealed following her passing three years ago - we were both adopted and she never knew where we came from, therefore neither did I. Now, after forty years, I can begin to learn about my origins and start to feel some connection to my past. Finding Welsh ancestry in my genetic genealogy research led me here to you all.

I am absolutely dumbfounded at how much I have learned in such a short time, even though I feel like I am plodding along rather slowly due to my desire for perfection (I’m doing much better with that now @aran :smiley:) as well as the short-term memory issues related to complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Nonetheless, I am making progress, however slowly! I have completed Challenges 1 - 9 in Level 1, and I am in the process of repeating 5 - 9 (without the pause button! :star_struck:) to aid me in retaining what I have learned before moving on to Challenge 10. In fact, I feel like I have made a LOT of progress in just those few lessons! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the amazing course, and also for making Level 1 free to learn. I am so very grateful.

While I am on the subject of gratitude, I also want to express how much it has meant to me that everyone in this forum has been so kind, welcoming, and helpful. It has been a difficult year and a half for me, during which time I have had to make the tough choice between having hurtful friends that were little better than enemies, or having none at all. I went with the latter, and it has been mostly me and my cat ever since - and my little twin nieces who are five years old now, when I am fortunate enough to see them. It has been lonely to say the least, and it was really hard for me to open up and talk to people, even in the relative safety of an online forum such as this. You all have been so wonderful and you have renewed so much of my faith in humanity.

I don’t have words to express just how much it has meant to me and I’m afraid my eyes might “leak,” so I will just repeat: Thank you and diolch! I hope all of you have a wonderful end to 2018 and a beautiful and hope-filled New Year!

Much Love,

:stars: Sasha Quickstar

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Croeso Sasha-Lathrop. You’ve made great strides in such a short period of time! And I agree this forum and it’s members are amazing and incredibly helpful. These people are the primary reason for my continuing passion in the language. It’s great fun to watch tv shows in Cymraeg and understand what’s being said…well…at this point, I understand about 20%-30% but It’s a great learning opportunity to hear conversations and let my Welsh-ear hear conversations at normal speed.

Like you, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to my pet; in this case my dog. He knows wait = aros and come here = dere fan hyn. My biggest challenge is finding someone to speak with. I was lucky that Delaware has a Welsh Society that I joined and we speak to one another each week. I did find a Welsh-American Society of North California http://wasnc.org. I couldn’t find a group in Sacramento, sorry.

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Wow! Thank you so much for finding that! Most of it seems to be San Francisco Bay Area, but that is only a couple hours drive from here. Hopefully next year my health will improve and then my income will hopefully improve along with it so I can start trying to go to some of their events!

My cat is… well he’s a cat so it’s a lot harder to tell when he understands, but I am convinced he loves to be praised with a simple “Da iawn Buddy!” when he does something extra special. :smiley::paw_prints: He’s been learning to give me snuggles and nose boops (kitty kisses) when he wants to go for a walk on his leash and harness rather than yowling around the house, so he get’s a LOT of praise from his mama!

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Sasha, it sounds you’re doing great with the challenges!

And hey, thanks for being part of the forum - you write a lot of interesting things and I really enjoyed talking to you (with posts, but that’s communication too as far as I can tell)!

At this point I’ve only learnt how to wish a joyful X-Mas in Welsh, so I’ll stick to English until someone else enlighten us with their wisdom! :wink: :smiley:
Happy and joyful, and welshful (!) New Year to you!

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Welcome, Sasha. I hope 2019 proves as wonderful a first year of learning Welsh as 2018 did for me.

Croeso a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

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Awww, thanks! I agree, this is definitely communication and I have enjoyed talking with you and reading your posts as well! Keep up the good work on your Welsh learning quest! :smiley:

Thank you! I have a good feeling about this year’s Welsh learning challenge with all of you on my side. :star_struck:

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Wahoo! Challenge 10 has officially been marked as “Done!” :white_check_mark: I’m feeling really good about my progress! :star_struck::raised_hands::tada:

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Well done! And keep on pulling your perfectionism towards ‘embracing the perfection of making lots of mistakes’… :wink:

I’m sorry you’ve had such a tough year - but extremely pleased that you’ve found this lovely community, and that it’s been a positive place for you… :slight_smile:

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Thanks! The funny thing is, as an ESL/EFL teacher I give the very same advice to my students, knowing perfectly well what a tall order that can be! :sweat_smile:

I went for my first walk today where I spent around 5 minutes talking to my cat in Welsh and looking at the world around me naming everything I could yn Gymraeg. I praised my cat because he was being so sweet and good-tempered on his leash: “Da iawn Buddy! Dw i’n meddyl bod ti’n gwneud yn dda iawn! Diolch yn fawr Bubba!:tada:

When taking a cat on a leash, I have found it best to set boundaries then go pretty much wherever they want to go so I would say to him “Ble wyt ti’n moyn mynd? Dw i’n moyn mynd gyda ti!:paw_prints:

I gave a leaf in the grass a little nudge with the toe of my sneaker and said “dail.” I watched the bird singing in the trees and said “Bore da, aderyn!” :fallen_leaf::bird:

The whole experience made my right eye leak for real this time, and my left one too a little bit because It made me feel so happy. Thanks to everyone who has helped me reach this point so quickly and with such a joyful heart! :joy::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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That sounds as though you are definitely full speed ahead now :star: :star2:

And it’s worth noting that what you said to the cat (and indeed the bird!) was exactly the same as a Welsh speaker might have said - so for those lovely little moments, you already were a Welsh speaker… :slight_smile:

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Wow, thank you! That is such high praise!!!
:blush::star_struck::raised_hands::love_you_gesture::partying_face::fireworks::woman_cartwheeling::unicorn::sunrise_over_mountains:

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It can all become much more fun if you realise you’re already having moments of being a Welsh speaker, and you just want to add more… :slight_smile:

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Well, I’ve done it! I’ve finished Level 1! I can hardly believe how much I’ve learned. Dwi’n hapus, hapus iawn gyda faint dw i wedi dysgu yn barod! Diolch yn fawr iawn, pawb! Thanks everyone for all the support thus far, and on I go to Level 2 next week!

:grinning::star_struck::joy::stars::rainbow::rocket::first_quarter_moon_with_face:

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Another big milestone reached, Sasha - well done! And I hope that your health is improving as well, and that you and your cat are enjoying Welsh walks in the sunshine. Dal ati! (Keep at it!)

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Thanks @BronwenLewis! I’m feeling pretty good about getting this far.

Bubba Moon and I are doing pretty well, still learning Welsh together on our walks every day! :smiley_cat::paw_prints:

I haven’t forgotten we were going to chat on Slack… My confidence speaking with people is still not as strong as I’d like (the anxiety wipes my memory temporarily), but I would really like to give it a try sometime if you’re up for it… If I freeze up, I’ll find a couple of lines in my notes to read until it passes or something. :sweat_smile:

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Hey, that’s great Sasha! Congratulations! :clap: :rainbow: :champagne:

And now more fun with Level 2 is ready for you! :wink:

Diolch! I’m looking forward to the adventure ahead! :grinning:

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Dw i 'di cwpla! That’s it, Level 2 and the 6-month course are complete and in the books! I finished Challenges 24 and 25 today, and my brain loved it! I am looking forward to seeing what Level 3 and the Deep End have in store, and I am still excited for Monday! Diolch yn fawr iawn, pawb… diolch o galon!!! :rainbow:

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Llongyfarchiadau mawr Sasha! Bendigedig! :star2::star2::star2:

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Diolch yn fawr iawn, @siaronjames :grinning::sunflower::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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