50 by 50 – Learn Welsh

Learn Welsh.
Why on earth would I want to do that?

Well to be honest there are a number of reasons.  I think it is good to learn and continue to do so.  It keeps the mind active, it’s motivational and you get out and meet new people.
I’ve always thrown myself fully into learning.  I did my GCSE’s, A Levels, got a Degree.  Then a Post Graduate Diploma and finally a Masters Degree.  I enjoyed learning.  Yes at times it was stressful but I liked the challenge and threw myself into it.
Whilst completing the Post Grad and Masters I was working full time.  It was hard and it was a huge struggle.  Those 3 years seemed like they were never going to end.  But I got there and lived to tell the tale.  I’d finished the Masters in June and was looking for something else to study.  I knew I would not do a Doctorate, it was just not possible whilst working and I couldn’t give up my job for financial reasons.
After the Master’s my health had deteriorated and I needed a major operation.    I ended up needing this operation quite urgently and at the beginning of September I was admitted to hospital where I stayed for nearly 4 weeks.  I was off work for a further 3 months.  It was a long 3 months sat at home doing nothing;no work, no study.   I had never sat at home doing nothing for so long.  During my study I was also crafting and selling hand made cards.  I just wasn’t well enough to go to craft fairs and to be honest I didn’t feel well enough to craft for quite sometime.  Just getting out of bed in morning and having breakfast meant a 2 hour nap.  I had got used to the madness of full time work and study.  I had not signed up for any courses as I knew deep down this op was coming during the next 6 months and didn’t want to commit myself financially to something I knew I would have to take time off from.
It took some time to get well and then I had further complications.  I got married and had The Boy & Girl.  Then more complications and 9 operations over a 2 1/2 year period.  I did do some studying but that was linked to a work promotion and to be honest it was study for a job and just didn’t feel like study for me.

Life carried on, then changed dramatically and then we moved to Wales in February this year.  I also knew when we moved I wanted the pace of life to change and to get back to do things for me and learning for one of those things that I wanted to do again.

The Boy and Girl went to school here in Wales and suddenly had to learn Welsh which was totally alien to them.  They were learning but it was clear they had some catching up to do and I knew once The Boy started High School in September this year he would need some extra help as more and more of his lessons would be in Welsh and he would be struggling.

I made the decision that I needed to learn Welsh too.  We could then talk together as a family and their understanding would improve with practice.  I made so many phone calls over the summer to try to find a course that would take all three of us.  Every where that I asked just said adults only, the children would learn in school.  I was concerned as The Boy was behind with his Welsh learning by 7 years and The Girl by 6. They needed desperately to catch up.
Since The Boy started High School last month it is clear he needs extra help.  Although he spent an entire term from Easter at the Welsh unit where he had a term of intense Welsh tutoring it is clear more help is needed.  I’ve asked the school for extra help in classes and extra lessons, asked them if there is any where he can go privately  I’m prepared to pay, but no there isn’t anywhere.  They are going to apply for a place at the Welsh unit for High school pupils but are unsure when he will get a place as he went to the Primary school Welsh unit.
I was fully aware that they would need to learn Welsh but I did expect a little more support for them.  I have wait until after October half term to see if they know when he can have a place.  He knows he needs to go but is loving High school so much and he doesn’t want to take a term away but clearly his studies are going to suffer as most of the lessons are taught in Welsh and he is not getting the translations to know what to do. 
I had made the decision I would like to learn Welsh but was so busy with work that I was going to look in to it next year.  I had even included it on my 50 by 50 list.  Well the way things were at school I made he decision I needed to start learning Welsh now.  I signed up with Aberystwyth University and started last week.  I have now had 2 tutorials and oh how I am understanding how The Boy & Girl are felling.  I knew I was rubbish at foreign languages and there really is a reason why I did not do French or German at GCSE level.  My fear is all coming back to me now!
I’ve found some podcasts online and another class that runs for 10 weeks which will repeat some of the basics I have learnt, well in my case tried to learn, so far.  This first year concentrates on spoken Welsh and how I am struggling.  If you know anything about Welsh there are extra letters in the alphabet and I just cannot for the life of my pronounce ch or ll and certainly can’t roll my r’s.  No matter how many times the tutor tells me to pronounce ll you need to put your tongue in the side of your mouth and blow, the sound that comes out is nothing like it is supposed too and don’t get me started on the clearing my throat sound for ch.  There were certain things I was told not to do in public as a child and telling me it is ok to do at the age of 40 doesn’t help.
I’ve started to learn Welsh but I’m certainly not at the stage to tick off my 50 by 50 goal yet.  But I do know for sure that I will get there by perseverance and trying to keep calm about it all. 

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