For the first time since beginning the challenge I came within a hair’s breadth of not posting today (and thus ensuring failure).
Although most may not understand, given it’s all a bit irrational and weird, this week has the potential to go a bit dolally. I will leave a more complicated, introspective examination of this for another time, but the upshot of it is, this Thursday marks the five-year anniversary of one of my most serious suicide attempts (and the most effed up treatment I’ve ever received from a mental health service) and every October around this time the memories of that day become all I can think about.
After the triggers of last week, my current writer’s block (a strong signal of my mental state), the stresses of yesterday and the hellish nightmare of a dream I had last night, I’m becoming increasingly scared that my unwanted memories will trip me back into the nasty depressive episode I was in a few months ago; in fact, terrified would be a better word than scared.
Given this is all I’ve thought about today – not exactly productive, inspiring or healthy – everything I’ve tried to do has fallen apart within minutes, hence why I very nearly didn’t post today. But, failure (and whinging) are not acceptable options.
Once upon a time, when I was but a mischievous schoolboy, I spoke near perfect French. Then, when I was a ruggedly handsome yet still mischievous backpacker, I spoke not quite so perfect French but more than enough to make a fool of myself in Canadian backpacker hostels.
Now, I couldn’t speak French to save my life. In fact the only language I do speak is English, and it’s debatable how well I do that, so my answer will be two of the eight languages I’d like to learn how to speak one day (the others being Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Latin, Japanese and one of the Aboriginal Australian languages).
As for the other two, the first is obvious to anyone who knows me, and the second is one I’ve always had a strange fascination with.
My desire to speak Scottish Gaelic has been present since I first visited the Outer Hebrides. I first made an effort to attend classes later that year, but my college commitments interrupted this attempt. Undeterred I went about purchasing ‘teach yourself books’ until, in 2007, I contacted an organisation in Melbourne that offered Gaelic language classes. After ensuring it didn’t interfere with my college classes I signed up and was preparing to begin my first lesson when I suffered a breakdown and my life went to hell in a bicycle basket.
Since then I have continued attempting to teach myself this language – not only because of a strong desire to learn it, but because 45% of the Scottish characters in my Chronicles speak Gaelic fluently so it rather helps the author has an understanding of it to. Alas, I fear this will never come to pass (what with homeless, mental health et al) but when I’m stable enough I like to dip into it to remind myself of who I once wanted to be.
Thus, should you find yourself stranded in Gaelic speaking Scotland, here are a few phrases to help you blend in:
How are you? Ciamar a tha sibh?
I love you Tha gaol agam ort
Where’s the toilet Càite bheil an taigh beag?
My hovercraft is full of eels Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein loma-làn easgannan
Who was that sheep I saw you with last night Cò an caora sin còmhla riut a chunnaic mi an-raoir?
That was no sheep, that was my spouse! Cha b’e sin caora, ‘se sin mo chèile a bha innte!
Will you give me a kiss? An toir thu dhomh pòg?
No, but I’ll slap you! Cha toir, ach bheir mi dhut sgailc!
And a few proverbs to keep in mind throughout your life:
Whoever burns his backside must himself sit upon it Fear sam bith a loisgeas a mhàs, ‘s e fhèin a dh’fheumas suidhe air.
The little fire that warms is better than the big fire that burns Is fheàrr teine beag a gharas na teine mòr a loisgeas.
It’s not easy to put trews on a cat Cha shoirbh triubhas a chur air cat.
Plus, should you ever fancy breaking into a rendition of the Canadian national anthem in Scottish Gaelic, you can:
O Chanada, dùthaich nan gaisgeach còir,
Crùn air do cheann de dhuilleag dhearg is òir. Bho chuan gu cuan le òran binn,
Do chliù nì sinn a luaidh,
Fo dhìon do sgéith tha saorsa ghrinn
Nach spìon an namhaid uainn.
O Chanada, dùrachd ar cridh’,
Sonas le sìth is maitheas Dhè d’ar tìr.
Sonas le sìth is maitheas Dhè d’ar tìr.
Whilst at school I did study German for a little while and according to my teacher (a rather strange little man who rated a mention in my 100 Things About Me list) because of my Scottishness I was perfectly placed to handle the rolling r’s and -ch’s of the language. Alas, I didn’t pursue an education in German (choosing instead to study French because the teacher was, quite frankly, gorgeous!) but later in life – as I did with Gaelic and Spanish – I attempted to learn the language myself through CD, books and DS games.
Unfortunately, as with most things in life, it’s a lot easier to learn a language when you have people to speak to.
But, should you ever find yourself marooned in Germany, here are a few choice phrases that may help you on the way:
Good Day Guten Tag / Morgen
Good Evening Guten Abend
With Pleasure Mit Vergnügen
Have a nice day! Einen schönen Tag allerseits!
And a few inspirational proverbs to take to heart:
One Learns from one’s mistakes Aus Schaden wird man klug. (Darum ist einer nicht genug.)
He who eats with the devil must have a long spoon Der muß einen langen Löffel haben, der mit dem Teufel essen will.
Poet’s are born, but orators are trained Zum Dichter muß man geboren sein, Redner kann man werden.
Better an end with pain than pain without end Lieber ein Ende mit Schmerzen als Schmerzen ohne Ende. or Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende.
Tomorrow, in the finale to the 20 Day Challenge: 1 Phrase that describes me…