|This pretty much sums up how I've been feeling.|
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I am very frustrated with learning Dutch right now, and with myself for feeling like I'm not any better at communicating. Most of the time I have felt like I could see my progress and even though there has always been a long way to go, I felt like I was moving towards improvement. But during the last couple weeks, I have felt stuck. I'm spending more time than I was before Little Man started school on my studies but I feel like I've actually moved backward. I feel like I'm having trouble recalling vocabulary and grammar rules that were pretty solid in my brain. I'm making more "small talk" than I was before with other parents and teachers, but I feel like my brain is getting jammed halfway through a thought more often than not. I'd like to think that I'm able to be rather witty and expressive in English - in Dutch I'm capable of asking where the butter is in the store or apologizing that my Dutch isn't very good. It's an interesting dynamic where I feel "normal" and "intelligent" in my own tongue and downright stupid in Dutch. It's almost like having two different personalities, and while I know I'm not (too) crazy, it sort of feels like it.
Clearly, the answer is more studying, more practice. As a teacher, this is what I would tell my students, and I know its the same for me. Practice may not make perfect, but it helps more than you realize at the time. Knowing this doesn't seem to make it any less frustrating, but I'm assuming (and hoping and praying) that this effort will pay off. So I'm still going through my books, trying to talk to people, watching Dutch children's shows, trying to read little news articles here and there, and working on having a bit more patience with myself.
It will come, but I'll be happy when I can climb off this plateau.