putting the pieces together

This past week was a good week, one in which I both made progress with my language study and felt validated about my approach to it.

The week started with my first two morning sessions with my mentor on Monday and Tuesday. I felt a bit of anxiety going into them, since I haven't spoken much Luganda since July. So I was very pleasantly surprised when the conversation began and I got straight back into it! After a couple minutes of conversation, my mentor paused to compliment me. "You have really improved!" he told me. "Amelia did good work with you this summer! Oli muyiizi mulungi! (You are a good student)."

It's hard to overstate how much of a boost this gave me. One of the hardest things I'm finding about independent language study is how difficult it is to assess my progress - not to mention the lack of positive reinforcement! So to get this kind of validation - unprompted - was really helpful.

Beyond that, he also told me that he thinks I am at an intermediate-high level of proficiency. When I was most recently determining my level, I thought so too, but I had a nagging sense of self-doubt that it couldn't possibly be true. Maybe I was being too generous in my responses to the can-do questions, I thought. But no! I was right. I really am in the intermediate-advanced level, though of course there are skills within that category that I still need to work on.

After a successful first couple of days, I fit Luganda in wherever I could. I am finding that this semester is extraordinarily reading- and writing- heavy (welcome to grad school, Lauren!) and so have been working hard to find time to fit it all in. Despite the pressures, I managed to do some Luganda every day this week, using many of the strategies I've learned in the past year. For example, I have been listening to a lot of Luganda radio around the house, watching talk shows while preparing dinner, and doing Luganda work first, before getting to the other work I have to do that tends to fill all available time.

What I am finding from this, is that Omuzanyo is really working for me in this context. Having a goal that I feel some pressure to achieve and a range of activities I can do is helping me practice and make progress. And it's keeping me motivated and focused. I was very happy - and a little surprised, just with how busy I've been - that I reached my goal this week.

All the pieces are coming together, and I'm feeling excited about what several weeks in a row like this might do for my spirits and my skills!


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