Monday, 8 May 2017

The many hues of contradiction

With more options, choice becomes more difficult. When I started learning German, a world of interesting opportunities opened itself up: I could, if I persisted, live in Zurich, Vienna or Berlin! But I already had some knowledge of French (who could say no to Lyon?) and even more of Spanish (Barcelona is perhaps the most exciting possibility, though the bilingualism poses further challenges), so, in the end, how am I to decide?

When I started learning German, my main motivation was to learn my partner's language. I am now newly single, and as tempting as it is to leave my German aspirations behind, I have to admit that I can see myself working with my present connections to the country and deepening them over time, if I so chose. German is the most difficult European language I have tried to learn, but it has its fair share of fun. I am kind of intrigued by the country, and would like to visit again. There are so many layers of contradictions within the interactions between ethnic Germans and 'New' Germans alone... there are more positive stories about multiculturalism here than in many other spots of the continent.

As an immigrant, I need to consider how welcoming my potential host nation will be, and out of the three nations listed, Germany is clearly in the lead. Pity, then, that I find Spanish and French easier and more palatable languages. But perhaps I ought to eschew aesthetics in favour of the most practical option?

Choosing between Spain and France/Belgium poses its own difficulties. Spain has the easier language; France is more progressive. Catalan would bring more headaches; the fervour with which French is demanded leaves something to be desired. Yet both populaces feel more easily accessible than the Germans, so famous for being unexpressive in comparison.

I am now reminded of my friend Willa, who would advise me to spend time living in each location (at least three months in one place) before making my choice. All very well, but I can't afford to do so at present. Maybe I should learn all three, just to be safe? It feels like betrayal to let any of them go. I've developed attachments to each one.


If I move on from questions of 'Where?' I am left with a further question: 'What occupation?'
Language and writing continues to emerge the natural default point. I wonder if I ought not distinguish myself from the other Europeans by taking up Japanese, but my motivation for Nihongo isn't as high as the desire to take up Swedish. But that's assuming that I can become fluent in at least one new language, something that would surely involve long hours of immersion and careful attention to detail.

So I guess I'm looking at translating and interpreting. Or maybe just writing articles in my new language.

Considering all the work I have to do, I think I'd better stop writing this blog post and commence some of that learning!


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