Friday, 24 February 2017


Well, I didn't go to Polish class after all because I had another low-carb diet side effect which I will now call the "7000 Calorie Deficit Temper Tantrum."  In short, I worked on cleaning the kitchen too long, and I was in danger of missing my train, and my husband couldn't print off the homework assignment I was going to do at the last minute, and I couldn't find my Polish graphic novel, which I thought I needed for class. Result: overturned bookcase, Polish books all over the floor and telephoned rant sounding something like:

"I've wasted five years and thousands of pounds on a language nobody asked me to learn and I have almost no opportunity to use and I can't learn anyway because I don't have the right kind of brain and am utterly rubbish at languages and it's totally unfair when my brothers and sister can learn languages easier than I can and it all ended up with me half-blind in the emergency ward of a Warsaw hospital!!!!"

To which Benedict Ambrose on the other end of the line said such soothing things as "You're not rubbish at languages" and "But your Polish is very good" and "If you like, you can take French with me."

"But I hate French," I sobbed.

Actually, I don't hate French. I just hate being bad at French and what being bad at French means for Canadians, e.g. that other Canadians had better elementary school educations than us and also have better job opportunities. Therefore I will probably go to French class with B.A. and do my very best to approximate the Parisian accent that eludes 99.99% of the French Canadian population, never mind the maudits anglais.

In the meantime, I got a big cardboard box and filled it with as much of my Polish library that would fit and shoved it in the hall closet.

But the very act of banishing all those Polish books cheered me up enough to banish my resolve to quit. After supper I checked the emails my teacher sent during my Canadian absence and wrote down all the homework I should have been doing. This morning I got up early and worked with my new Assimil: Polonais sans Peine CD kit  for an hour. (Assimil doesn't teach Polish in English.)

Thus, despite my deficiencies, I have reason to hope: every time I want to quit Polish (and those last fatal days in Warsaw were thoroughly demoralizing), I don't. If magically not quitting means that one day I will be able to speak Polish elegantly, then maybe this day will come.

Off-Topic Update: Here's a beautiful little essay by an American chap in the Catholic Herald about coming back to the Faith.


  1. Perhaps background Polish or French documents on YouTube while you are doing the housework will help your ear. You don't need to understand it, just have it going on. For example, I exercise to old German documentaries. Then I tackle Assimil. Of course, "Unsere MiG" (1984) from East Germany seems to be low on commentary and high on dramatic (and loud) shots of fighter aircraft so perhaps something more pedestrian...

  2. Oh, et il faut que je te dise que ton français est bon. C'est suffisant pour commander dans les restos, pour lire (après tout, tu étudies ton polonais avec un texte Assimil). Si tu auras besoin de faire des discours devant les caméras, tu embaucheras un tuteur et tu étudieras juste les mots qu'il te faut.