Should We Judge Based on Someone’s Effort?

I consider myself to be a very patient person; perhaps its due to the fact that I love to teach and patience is a crucial characteristic. I believe each person has their own rhythm and strengths, their own likes and dislikes, their own way to do things. Some people like to study or read while listening to music while others prefer silence for concentration; some people like to take on tedious tasks right away and others like to delay them; some people are overly organized while others find order in their mess.

It seems that lately I have shown no patience for one thing: indifference. I feel utter dislike for someone who doesn’t care, who doesn’t make an effort, who sits there and lets everything pass. Like I said, I know everyone has their learning methods and times, and I really respect that. What I am finding trouble respecting is not doing anything. If I get a low grade or I am having problems with a course, I study harder. Dutch is one big example of this: the more I learn Dutch, the harder I have to work at it because it becomes even more complex. I know it isn’t right to compare, but this discrimination (because I cannot find any other way to see it) is towards something I find to be unacceptable in anyone. We have one life to live, one chance to show what we are made up; we should me making the best of this chance.

In my meditation classes, the teacher would say that someone who was doing something that bothers us is a teacher in patience. I think I have also found a teacher in tolerance and patience. I had always considered myself to be tolerant, but I am learning that I am not as tolerant and patient as I thought.

Have you ever been in a similar situation?


Music to my Ears

Six years ago I began learning Italian because I had nothing to do. It may sound like a lame excuse, but it was the truth. I had just moved to Mexico and needed to start doing something to settle down. The Italian school of the embassy was just a few blocks from where I lived, and, since I had always wanted to learn more languages, it seemed like an excellent idea. I began classes and the biggest challenge I faced at first was learning a language in a language that was not my native language. Although I had always spoken Spanish, most of my education had been in English and switching to Spanish to learn Italian was a bit complicated. I had to not only learn Italian vocabulary but also how to say verb, noun, pronoun, past, future, etc. in Spanish in order to be able to understand what I was learning. Thanks to my knack for languages, I was speaking, reading and understanding Italian very quickly. I spent a month in Venice polishing my Italian and reading as much as I could. After about 2 years, I was certified to teach and translate Italian.

I must admit that Italian wasn’t a language I had been eager to learn. I had always imagined myself speaking French; I have this strange fascination with France, the French and Paris, of course. Although a good French school was just as close to home as the Italian one, for some reason, I started with Italian. Six years later, I find myself wanting to speak and hear Italian. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that my father-in-law is from Italy so I hear Italian often, I constantly eat Italian food and it is a language I KNOW. Once I warm up, I really enjoy speaking Italian.

Yesterday, while I was on the bus to my evening Dutch class, I overheard what was music to my ears. An Italian couple was seated behind me, the woman was upset about something and she was telling the man. In Italian, things are always told with a lot of emotion. I don’t really know what happened or why the woman was upset; I simply let the sounds and the emotions serenade my ears. It was five minutes of the best language symphony with curse words and anger and emotion and very fast talking. Once they left the bus, I realized what a treat it is for a language lover like me to live in Europe, where the sounds of so many languages can be heard in the train, on the bus, walking down the street and among friends.