On being terrible at Danish

Instead of another rant about my jet lag, which by the way, is the worst I’ve ever had it, I thought I’d start in early about my language skills.

I’ve only been in Denmark for…four days, but I’m already feeling the pressure of not having particularly good language skills.  One of the worst parts is that I feel I can’t even complain about it because every time I do, somebody jumps in quickly to assure me that I am, indeed, “god på dansk.”  However, it’s not really reassurance that I’m looking for, and the pressure comes only from myself.

I’ve never been very good at dealing with embarrassment.  Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I was always one of the “smart kids” in school and I always try to be really nice to people.  Maybe it was all a desperate attempt to avoid embarrassment.  Regardless, it’s hard to immediately become good at Danish, and the panic that sets in when I have to say “hvad?” three times and still respond with nothing but a blank look is overwhelming.

I’m moving tomorrow to my in-laws’ and while I’m excited to spend more time with my family and become even more comfortable with them, I’m also nervous about the hit my pride is going to take, being surrounded by nothing but Danish.

I know it’s just a stage I have to get past until my vocabulary and comprehension improves, and I also know that spoken Danish is ridiculously hard to understand (they only seem to want to say the first few letters of each word, and you, as the listener, have to puzzle over what they’re really saying.  It’s like a game they play with every sentence.)  However, it just feels like a stage that will never end.  I feel that I’ll never be good enough at Danish.

One of the only things that keeps me hanging on is that my mother-in-law, who is German, learned Danish around the same time in her life as I am, and *she* has a job and functions normally in Danish culture…

I’ll just have to follow in her same-size-as-mine footsteps and do my best.  If nothing else, my sense of humility is really improving.  Yay virtues!


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