Archive | February, 2012

Am I ready to be a student again?

10 Feb

I’ve finally had word that the course I’ve enrolled on – An Cùrsa Inntrigidh – is about to start.  In fact, I’ve already completed induction task one.  It was challenging but I managed to get through it.  The task?  To log into the university email system and send them a message.  I’m now awaiting my next few tasks.  I get the feeling they’re going to get tougher.

I honestly never thought I’d be enrolled in a university again.  I spent six years studying in my twenties and that was plenty loads, thank you very much.  And yet I’m really excited about this (though in fairness, I haven’t started yet so maybe I’m being a bit premature).  I’m looking forward to learning a new language, to adding to the tiny bit of vocabulary I’ve already picked up, to sharing this education with my children.

But I have to admit to being a little nervous, too.  Not helped by the UHI Student News title: Event to explore why Scots love sex and the supernatural.  Am I going to be just a touch too old (and clearly prudish) for this?  Thank goodness it’s all done over the telephone – I can pretend to be young, hip and glamorous.  Who’s going to know!?

It’s not just the student life though.  I worry about being able to cope with the coursework.  I love languages and have enjoyed the little bit I’ve learned to date, but I have been able to plod along at my own pace.  What if I can’t pronounce the new vocabulary?  What if the other students have more time to prepare than me?  What if the other students are all better than me?

I’ve also got to get over my two big fears – fear of actually speaking Gaelic in public, and fear of using a telephone.  Yes, I have a crippling phone fear yet I’ve signed up to do a course which involves an hour a week on the telephone.  Maybe not the smartest move but what doesn’t kill you and all that…

In the meantime I await my next induction tasks, I cross my fingers that the other students in my tutorial group/phone call are lovely and that my tutor is friendly & supportive, and I keep plugging away with a wee bit of new vocab each week.  This week my son has learned two new phrases:

Gabh mo leisgeul (gav mo layskal) = excuse me

Tha mi duilich (ha me doolich) = I’m sorry.  (An important one to learn after a cheeky day at nursery.)

Now I just need to learn to say, “I don’t understand,” in Gaelic and I’m all set for An Cùrsa Inntrigidh starting in a week.

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Gaelic for Toddlers: pàrant is pàisde

7 Feb

More and more, in the last few weeks, I have wished that there were a pàrant is pàisde AKA Gaelic parent and toddlers for my daughter to attend.  My son’s Gaelic nursery kindly gave me details of one in the west end of Glasgow but we can’t make it because we wouldn’t be able to drop off & pick up my son from nursery.  They also gave me details of a local playgroup but, though it may be a little handier, it’s still not practical.

I’m seriously tempted to set up something informal – just tea & biscuits at my house (for the adults, I’m sure I could drum up something more appropriate for a few wee kids) with some other mums I capture meet at my son’s nursery and at the Saturday Gaelic club, and just see how it pans out.  Yes, this means that I’d need to tidy up, a skill I still need to hone, but it would be much more flexible and relaxed than turning up as the new girl to yet another club.  I’ve joined a couple of clubs with my daughter recently and been feeling so out of my depth that I really don’t need to add to it, so maybe that would be the solution.

The difficult question to answer is: what do I actually want out of a pàrant is pàisde?  Whilst an abundance of toys and activities for my daughter would be lovely, I don’t think that’s a crucial part of what I’m looking for (though a few would be good).  In essence, I’m looking for a simple place to go with my daughter where she can play with other children who may one day be in her class and where we can practise some simple songs and phrases to use about the house. I want a place to chat with people who perhaps already have children in the school – not just about school issues, but to know that I could would be great.   I want somewhere to try out this new, alien vocabulary with people who are in the same boat. I want to make some friends who understand this journey we are on.

A quick look on Netmums flagged up a Pàrant ‘s Pàisde in Kilmarnock.  It sounds right up my street, except that sadly, it is nowhere near my street so I can’t pop along.  It describes itself like this:

“The toddlers group is a relaxed, informal group where parents can chat over a cup of tea/coffee and find out more about benefits of a bilingual education and the children can play, take part in craft activities and learn some Gaelic songs and nursery rhymes.  Why not come along and find out more about this fantastic opportunity?”

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it!?

But at the end of the day, none of this matters if I’m the only one who feels a need for something like this.  It would be a very lonely (though tasty) biscuit if I’m the only one sitting eating.  I suppose I should put my feelers out and try to guage interest.  Or maybe just stick with the original plan to capture people at the gates.  Wait, did I just say that out loud…….?

If you (or anyone you know) would be interested in a pàrant is pàisde (or anything like it) then I’d love to hear from you – I’ve got my fingers crossed.