I feel quite out of sync with writing this, like I’ve lost some sort of rhythm that used to remind me when it was writing day and helped me with the process of putting words on a page. (Or on a screen if you’re going to be pedantic). Since my siblings started back at school, my sense of which day of the week it is has slowly began to deteriorate – and it was only on Thursday that I realised there’s still another week until October. I don’t want to be wishing my time away, but most of what I’m doing at the moment seems to be waiting. Waiting, and rushing, and getting confused by words.

I may have mentioned before the months of slamming my head against a brick wall that I encountered before realizing I was dyslexic. The assumptions I subconsciously make that similar words, or numbers, or strings of characters, are the same. My inability to spell, at least with certain words. It’s something that’s made learning languages a lot harder. Not French, strangely enough, but Latin grammar with it’s 7 million declensions was a nightmare. And now Swahili. I’m going in less than a fortnight, and I’d really like to be able to manage more than half a dozen words.

Hello. Welcome. How are you. Sorry. No worries. This is the current extent of my Swahili, or so it feels. I’m told you pick up languages faster when people around you are speaking them, but that doesn’t exactly inspire me with confidence. I think I’ll be fine, at least that’s what I keep telling myself; but having watched hours of “teach yourself Swahili” videos on youtube doesn’t seem to have helped me very much. Nor the surprisingly good 40 minute propaganda movie telling people to be more aware of malaria when they’re pregnant. I should hopefully be okay, and if the worst comes to the worst; I will be with other people and  I have a chapter of supposedly useful phrases (including “where can I buy cannabis?”) in the back of my guidebook. I suppose this is part of the travelers’ anxiety, the pre-departure homesickness, the nervousness that makes up part of every adventure. I’ve never been one of life’s great communicators, and being thrown into a new environment is making me a little worried about that.

I’ll get a hold of Swahili eventually, no matter how much the letters run together in an intangible stream. After all, it’s only words.

– Vicki


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