Monday, January 31, 2011


I love Mondays.

Why? you ask. Monday afternoons I walk across town during Valerie's nap for my weekly language lesson. I get to be a student. I get to ask all my questions - like how do you talk about snacks, naps, and sharing in Shqip when google translate can't give you a word for any of those?

Mondays Shpresa is here all day and I can practice Shqip with her too, and talk about the kids with an experienced mom/babysitter, and I can run all my errands without the kids on tow. Mondays somebody else cooks dinner for us.

Mondays we get back into our weekly nap and meal routine. I don't have Terry underfoot (much as I missed him while he was away) wanting to go on long spontaneous excursions that disrupt said routine. Mondays, for me, here, are refreshing.

For those who are curious, a word on language.

I do think it's fascinating that there's no word in Shqip for "snack"! You can name a specific food - like "would you like some chips? An apple?" - or talk about having "a little something to eat" (ha një gjë të vogel) but there's not a specific generic term for a little something to eat between meals. I think it says something about cultural habits.

For "share," the language is actually much more precise than English. You can talk about sharing out something in portions (which we sometimes in English call shares), like food or toys. The word is "ndaj" - literally "to separate." Or you can talk about taking turns: "me radhë." If you think about it, we use one word in English - "share" - to mean both things. When I tell Valerie to share her toys, I usually mean she should let Gabriel or another child take a turn playing with them. Or, that she should separate out some toys for them to have and keep, while others remain hers.

(You may be able to tell, we've been working hard with Valerie on the sharing concept and I'm pretty pleased with how she's doing. We praise her extravagantly when she brings Gabriel a toy, and we praise Gabriel too whenever Valerie plays with one of his toys. So now she does things like pick up my keys or something and I'll say "are you playing with Mommy's keys?" and she'll say "Mama share with Val-Val." It's cute.)

The other thing I couldn't get on google translate was how to explain how I feel when I go out without the kids: "I miss them but I feel free." This is how I would express that feeling in Shqip: "Kur unë jam pa femijët, gjithmon më merrmalli per femijët por është më kollai per të ecin shpejt, edhe per të bëj pazarin më shpejt." Or, literally, "when I am without the children, I always miss them but it is easier to walk quickly and to go shopping quickly."

"Free," as in at no cost, is "falas" and freedom in a political sense is "i lirë." But what I wanted to express was that feeling of lightness that we also call "free" in English.

I love languages and I love learning, and I love learning languages. So Mondays are a lot of fun for me here.

1 comment:

anita said...

I like mondays too. It's like having a day off after a busy weekend.