I am in Lustenice, Czech Republic right now. It is actually spelled differently but my keyboard, like my mind, can’t handle the local language very well.
I’m trying to learn, and it might be a bit early to judge but I think one can state that my progress, if at all existent, is slow. With only a very faint connection to both Germanic and Latin languages, it is quite different from the 3-4 that I am acquainted with (I am counting my knowledge of German, Norwegian and Japanese together into 0.65 of a language). I have to start from scratch.
Czech is also a ‘synthetic’ language, as opposed to English, which is ‘analytic’ in nature. The context of a sentence influences its content, not by adding words like I am used to, but by changing them. There is, for example, no word for ‘not’. There is, or there isn’t.
So no basic words can be freely translated. Every time I ask the locals what a certain something is, I get a sigh and the start of a lecture on grammar. It’s quite frustrating.
Not that I have much else to do here. Marie (who will be the mother of my son in February – if you didn’t know that already: Surprise!) keeps dragging me outside and I’ll be the first to admit that the area is quite beautiful, but every time I catch myself thinking, “But there’s nothing out there!” There’s nothing in here, either. There’s nothing but work in the garden and a language to learn.
Unsurprisingly, I hate doing both of those. Many people like garden work because it’s very simple and honest, and puts their mind at ease. I hate it passionately for those same reasons. I think it’s boring, repetitive, and basically a struggle to fight mother nature day in, day out, year in, year out. I admire those who can do that and enjoy it, but it’s not for me. The life in a European agricultural environment, is not for me.
When I do work, I want to be challenged. I want to think, reason, and learn. I want to be amazed with what is going on, and I want results: Here, now.
I suppose I am terribly spoiled when it comes to sensory input. My life in the city and on the internet gave me exactly that: Lots and lots of input, and impressions, and stuff to think about. When I get bored, I can move on and find a new thing of interest. The more provocative, the better. Anything to keep my mind busy.
It’s not that I can’t enjoy a calm moment to think things over. I don’t mind some time to relax and wind down, in the company of myself. Just… not too long. A few hours, maximum, before I start longing back for Facebook, some discussion on pseudo-science, or a complicated social situation- yes, even that.
I know I have no one to blame but me, but in all honesty, I don’t mind very much to be part of this new desensitized generation. We live in an age of wonder, so why not wonder? Why not learn all you can -or feel like- about astronomy, quantum physics, and world politics? I see little children growing up who are better with a computer than I am, and it makes me curious to see what they will create in due time, what their next step will be. We are in the midst of a revolution that leaves places like this far behind.
And at the same time… I am kind of glad that my child will grow up here. That he will know the silence before venturing out into the storm. That, when all else fails, he will recognize the company of himself and, unlike me, be comfortable with it so that he can focus on other, more constructive things than wanting his precious internet. I suppose it’s something I, as a father, will have to learn along with a new language.