There have been many things that have surprised me during my time in Ukraine. But one thing that has truly caught me by surprise is the continuing decrease in my vocabulary and articulation skills.
A few weeks ago I began to notice in conversations with other native English speakers and while writing emails that my mental capacity for forming logical arguments and illustrating my points with a respectable vocabulary seems to be diminishing. Case and point would be the amount of time it took me to write that previous sentence! Now, one could make an argument that the above problem is a normal occurrence with age. And having entered my 3rd decade, a point could be made for that being the cause. However, I feel the reason could simply be that for the past 4 months, and the past month especially since leaving my training site my conversations as a whole have been very shallow. That’s not at all to say the Ukrainians with whom I’ve been having conversations with are shallow. I don’t believe that to be true at all. But I think that for most of them, their ability to understand what I say, and express their thoughts and ideas to me is caged within a limited vocabulary. And as far as my ability to speak in Ukrainian, well that cage is all the smaller! So day after day my conversations are of the events of the day, the weather, my job, my family, America, my travels and other normal social conversations. But what I wouldn’t give for the spirited conversations I would have with Drew and Sarah Vacca during my visits, or the discussions in Lifegroup with Kris Green, Oscar Gomez and others in the group! Topics of theology, philosophy and cultural nuances are to a conversation as sparks to a pool of gasoline! They create debate, arguments, animated discussions and cause the parties involved to think logically, reason and articulate their words to adequately convey the depth of what they are trying to communicate. But the vocabulary of these topics is a difficult thing to master. For many folks it takes years of higher education to achieve a proficiency in these topics.
Now while I’m sure I’m in no danger of losing my ability to speak on these topics completely. I do fear that without some work, I will fall out of practice of the ability to logically discuss, argue and navigate my way through deep conversations.
Truth be told as I look back on this post, it seems rather silly and perhaps it’s more worthwhile to delete it than for anyone to read it. But this is a post of my thoughts and experiences during my time in Ukraine. And this is one of my thoughts. So take it for what it is. Perhaps I’ll soon find something to post that is at least a tad more interesting!
So, until next time…