In August 2008, I made a leap and moved to Switzerland to be an Au Pair for 4 young girls. It was a decision made on a bit of a whim but one that’s proved forever fruitful.
On days I reminisce, I come across things that I’ve forgotten to think about for a while and it pleases me so, that I have all these wonderful memories and that I can reach into my mind and re live them whenever I choose.
After a most amazing night out on Friday night with some lovely blogging gals the topic came up of learning languages in the car on the way home.
I shared my story with the girls, and now I’m sharing with you.
As mentioned above, I moved to Switzerland in August 2008, into a French speaking region, Lausanne. I had minimal French under my belt due to 3 years ‘learning’ French at high school and my friends and I ALWAYS proclaiming “As if we will ever need this” (well I’ve sure learnt NOT to say/think that again) So, I had about enough as to tell everybody what my name is, that I am an Au Pair and that I like the swimming pool and post office. So as awesome as my 3 sentences were, this didn’t really assist me with understanding or being able to do ANYTHING solo on my own without looking like I was in a game of charades. (I had to explain to someone that I went horse riding on my holidays one day early on in my travels, now you don’t need help with understanding how funny that looked, in the middle of a pub, all eyes on me…)
As you can imagine, the world turned very different, very quickly. I was scared shirtless at the beginning thinking I would most certainly freak out because I hardly knew a single word. How would I ever cope, was the main thought on my mind.
But then it happened… Peace happened, a kind of peace you would never ever think possible happened. The world was quiet..
It was such an enlightening experience, the fact that I couldn’t understand anyone, made life pretty sweet. I had time with my own thoughts, no one to interrupt. I had time to ponder every single thing, in my own time, because I could. I wasn’t subconsciously trying to listen to every conversation around me, as we do here, in our English speaking country, everyday, whether we realise it or not. I was just doing my thing, with only my own thoughts to worry about.
This immense calmness just enveloped me. And I was seriously on cloud 9. I would just wander around the city taking everything in, like I was a child, because I didn’t have words to distract me.
I learnt a lot about myself then, the internal conversations I had with were so amazing and un interrupted, sometimes I dream for that time again. Bliss.
My magically loud yet personally silent world came to a massive halt the day I started understanding. I remember those few weeks where my silent world was loudly interrupted, and it HURT, my brain was constantly buzzing, because I was picking up words here there and everywhere, and concentrating so hard on what the words were. I remember the constant headache I had, how I seemed to shy away from those city visits because it was just exhausting. How I would dream to go back to the apartment and sit there in proper silence because I couldn’t cope with this unnerving noise.
As the days went by this got progressively easier, the headaches subsided and the noise balanced out. This was all a result of it becoming easier to understand French and easier to speak it, it was slowly becoming the normal. It became the same crazy busy world as it is now for me in Melbourne and my silent world, was gone. Forever.
I’ll never forget those early days where I was a stranger in the world, where the silence eased me and soothed my soul, those few weeks I won’t experience again, but they will also, never leave my mind.
Tuesday = community love, linking in with Mrs IBOT herself, Jess at Diary of a SAHM