when your best isn't enough

Well, guys. Last week was ... nuts. Even more nuts than I thought it was going to be. In that context, I really feel like I gave my Luganda all I could under tremendous constraints. At the same time, I know that it wasn't even close to enough. I'm debating how to categorize the week. A success in that I gave it my all when I could? Or a failure because of all of the constraints (some of them choices I made) that meant that I put much less time than normal into my studies?

I knew that the last half of the week was going to be tough because of my international travel, so I did try and front-load some Luganda on Monday and Tuesday. However, I did NOT expect Wednesday and Thursday to be as crazy as they were. (It was one of those when it rains it pours weeks, where I had multiple additional assignments for classes and student-related obligations in the evenings.) I also expected to have slightly better internet access in Ireland. I'm always unhappily surprised to be reminded of how internet-reliant my studies are.

All of the time on airplanes gave me a great chance to do my reading for classes, but I didn't bring any Luganda materials and so couldn't do very much work on flights. One thing I did do - and isn't really reflected in my points (and I'm not sure if I should really consider it Luganda practice or not), was practice a lot in my head. For example, I sat on those nice lounge chairs in the Amsterdam airport and I constructed sentences in my head describing what I could see. I described the planes coming and going, what people were doing, etc. I thought sentences describing what I had done so far and what I had yet to do that day. I guess I would've counted that as work if I'd pulled out a piece of paper and written the sentences down. In any case, it was an exercise I enjoyed whether it "counted" or not.

Here's how it all looked:
Tuesday: 1.5 hours of lesson with Simon, 30 minutes of lesson work
Wednesday: Quizlet long-term learning
Thursday: Quizlet long-term learning, 1 Bukedde article
Friday: Thinking in the airport (?), Quizlet
Saturday: Nothing, swept into wedding festivities
Sunday: Nothing, vacation-mode and no internet!
Monday: Text with friends

One other aside, but something I thought was worth sharing with you. I had dinner with my husband and two close friends from college - a group that is rarely in the same place but are important emotional/life guides for me. One of my friends asked everyone to say something that had been an important place of growth and/or something that had been giving them joy recently. And my first - honest! - answer to the question was just how much I am enjoying studying Luganda and how much intellectual growth I am getting from its study. Even when the weeks are bad, like this one, I know I am learning and I know it is expanding my understanding of Uganda and the world more broadly. How could that not bring me tons of joy?

So, I feel like I did the best I could, given the circumstances of the week. And I also feel like it wasn't good enough. But in the context of my life, it was worth it to attend this wedding and reconnect with some important people I rarely get to see. While I do feel guilty, I am going to try to give myself some grace for last week, and I am extra-motivated to put a lot of effort into my work this week!


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