The beginning of high school life can be very exciting for many people. It’s the time when you can start fresh, meet new people, find new interests and reinvent yourself. As for me, I was expecting all of that but something stepped on my way: I could barely understand English.
Moving to a new country at the beginning of high school life can be hard to any youth, but I was excited. Many hopes filled my mind as the first semester of my freshmen year started. But I suddenly realized something: people could not understand what I was saying, and sometimes I could not understand them. Reality struck me as I (realized) that I could not even order my lunch without pointing to what I wanted. My hopes started to fade away the first month, when I could not hold a proper conversation with my new high school friends. Talking is one of my favorite hobbies, so I tried my best to make myself understandable. Sometimes, I was sure that what I was saying was correct, but my accent would prevent people from getting whatever I was saying. At first, my attempts were strong and continuous but frustration was even more constant. For the first time in my talkative life, I became very quiet. That was mortifying to me that always loved to chat.
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Alas, the first step on my quest towards proper conversations was to read avidly. I surrounded myself with my dearest English speaking authors and read as much as I could. My vocabulary started to expand rapidly, but it still wasn’t enough to make people stop asking me to point at what I wanted at the lunch line.
That’s when I decided I needed someone to practice my English with. He was sitting behind me at French class, and seemed someone that would try to understand me. His name was Braydon.
After my target was set, I decided to talk little by little, everyday. At the beginning I would ask simple questions such as “What do you like to eat?” or “What songs do you like?” but still my friend would not understand me. I would repeat the same question over and over again, until I got an answer that went along with my question, which was rare. Sometimes, Braydon just nodded to anything I said, but I knew that was a hint to repeat my phrase once again. Struggling through my acquired (shyness), I tried to make myself clear.
Little by little, I started to lose my new shyness, and become once again talkative. My English improved, and my conversations started to get longer. After some time, I realized that the lunch lady could understand my order with just talking. It may seem a simple task to accomplish but for me, it was a victory.
Braydon is still my friend. These days, he confessed that he could barely understand me when we met. I also confessed that many times I thought I should just be quiet and give up trying to be understood. We laughed as we remembered the old times when I would suddenly turn to him and ask random questions. These days, I am glad that I asked those questions even though it was shameful because nowadays I can spend hours on the phone talking in English with my friend steadily. If I struggle, the reward afterwards will be worth it.