Four years ago, I met a guy online in a game we both played called Puzzle Pirates. Maybe it was five years ago, I’m not sure. Anyway, he was from a small country I only barely recognized: Latvia.
I ran a crew and he was one of my officers. As such, we spent many hours happily puzzling and pirating away on the Sage ocean of our little game-world. We started talking about language; it turned out we both love languages. Unlike me, he speaks four fluently! I could only claim intermediate proficiency in Latin (but he was impressed I knew what macrons were, as Latin uses them more than Latvian).
Time passed. My local library had a copy of Colloquial Latvian, a “beginner’s” English-Latvian instruction book, and we started discussing the language in detail. And, as time passed, we became more than friends. I flew out to Latvia at the end of 2007 and lived there for two months. Then, returned in fall of 2008 for another two months, during which he asked me to marry him. It was not unexpected — we had been working through the immigration process throughout 2008, culminating in acquiring successfully a fiance visa (K-1) for him in Warsaw. I brought him back to the States and we were married shortly thereafter.
I have lived in Liepāja, Latvia for four months. Sadly, I am still very much a beginner when it comes to the language. As of the start of this blog, I can read at the level of a 6 year old child. My vocabulary is small and I have difficulty speaking. It’s easier for me to read and write.
In some ways, this is because my capacity for learning languages has been diminished due to a severe concussion that forced me to drop my original major of Latin, because the language facilities in my brain were unlucky enough to be where I was concussed. It took almost two years for me to stop having severe headaches when I attempted to study a foreign language.
I know I can do this. It’s taking me forever, but I can do it. My husband is a wonderful help and resource, patiently explaining, reading, translating and cheering for me.
I have been doing this on my own, but often I get demotivated and convinced that I’ll never be able to talk to my new extended family, never be able to read the books we brought back with us from Latvia, never be able to actually become fluent in another language.
So, I started this blog. I hope it will help me to keep at my studies and work on understanding the points that give me problems. I hope it will help others too – there isn’t much on the Web for English-speakers who want to learn Latvian. But, also, this is a way for me to keep track of things, a virtual notebook, if you will, of snippets and notes and random things.
I do not promise this blog will make any coherent sense from one entry to the next. I am not trying to teach anyone other than myself how to speak and understand Latvian. But if you’re interested in the language, you might find such snippets, a sort of Latvian-language-tidbit-a-day, useful.
I love comments. If you want to share, please do. If you’re learning too and have a question, ask! I’ll do my best to help.