One of my best friends has been living in France for three years. She didn’t know a word of French before she moved, but is now a fluent speaker, living and working full-time in the language. We were talking on the phone last night and I was sharing my ATM story.
“How long did it take you to feel comfortable enough with French to do like, administrative tasks in it?” I asked, explaining that my frustrations over things going wrong are compounded by the fact I know I’ll likely have to try and fix them in Tetun.
“Oh, I still feel uncomfortable!” she replied, chirpily.
“But, dude, I feel uncomfortable doing that stuff in Australia. I hate it. I fell off the electoral roll and had to call someone about it. That was in English and it was still awful.”
A sudden shaft of sunlight through my gloomy mood. Duh – I’m the same. I’ve always hated doing stuff like this, Tetun or no Tetun.
Maybe, sometimes, things aren’t just awkward because it’s Timor. Maybe this time, it’s me.