Overcoming Obstacles of Learning a New Language - English
Back in Minsk, Belarus, where I was born, I used to go to a school that was considered an English school. While all the classes were taught in Russian and everyone spoke Russian as well, we were given a class where we learned English. I had no idea why I would need English in a Russian speaking country, but I did not have a choice, so I went to the class.
A year or so later, I found out that I would be leaving my homeland behind to move to America. I was not thrilled that I was leaving to an unknown new place, but it seemed that now what I learned in English class would come in handy. Of course when I came to America, I realized that whatever I learned back in Belarus had vanished and the only word I remembered was no. Yes no does come in handy but clearly that is not enough to communicate with other people.
When it was time to go to school I was old age-wise to go to 4th grade so I was placed into 5th. I was only in 5th grade for a few months, however, since I enrolled there toward the second part of the year. I was unsure how I would communicate with other people, but it turned out that I was placed into a Russian class. Everyone there was Russian, even the teacher. I thought that would make it easier to communicate and even understand the lessons being taught, but it turned out that everyone spoke English amongst themselves, and that the classes were taught in English as well. It was clearly a challenge for me, but I was fortunate enough to make friends with a few classmates who were nice enough to help me translate and fill me in on what was happening in class and what we were learning.
While attending 5th grade, I excelled in some classes, like math, where I didn’t really need to know much English, and struggled in those where knowledge of English was a necessity. I remember on graduation day I got an award for being so well behaved in class, and while I am usually a well behaved person, the reason I was so well behaved and quiet during class was because I didn’t know English. I could not really participate in class discussions as such because of my lack of English.
I was unsure how I would be able to master English, and if I would even be able to accomplish this task at all, but that is something that had to be done. In 6th grade my grades were still not high due to my lack of English. I would take time doing my homework assignments, and often enough had to use the dictionary so that I could do the homework correctly. Using the dictionary was not something that thrilled me but I had no choice. I had to learn English, even if it meant not going outside to play with my friends. So, I spent my afternoons after school not only doing my homework but also doing other things, like watching TV programs, and reading easy English books and English study guides, that would help me learn English once and for all.
Little by little I began to get accustomed to the English language and was able to read, write, speak, and understand it. While I wasn’t a master yet, it was enough to get by at the moment. It took a number of years to get really good, and, while I have a full grasp of the language now, there are still things left to learn...
Having nailed a new language like English, I ended up falling in love with writing. I remember taking ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, where the second part of regular class exams was an essay. I would always be the last one to leave the class on those days. I was not struggling with the essay. I loved writing so much and was so into it that I found it hard to stop writing. My ESL teacher was very proud of me, and told my mom and me, at a Thanksgiving Dinner gathering at the school, that I should go into journalism. I did take a journalism class in junior high school and even wrote an article for the school paper but for some reason I did not pursue journalism later in life. I did not stop writing, however, and have not stopped since.
While I do not have a career in journalism, I have a lot of writing under my belt – poetry, lyrics, prose, short stories, and other writing. On top of that I have published 10 books - Pieces of Me (poetry), Soundtrack of My Life: Volume 1 (lyrics), Soundtrack of My Life: Volume 2 (lyrics), Diary of a Crush (poetry, lyrics, prose), Treasure (poetic tale), Melodies of the Heart (lyrics), A Crimson Tide (poetry), and The Secret Life of Ashley Miles (a novel), An Unforgettable Journey (poetry, lyrics, prose), and Reflections of the Heart (poetry, lyrics).
Ever since I fell in love with writing, I have dreamed of being a published author one day and have my books be read by people all over the world. I am very proud to be a published author and am very grateful to have been presented with the opportunity to share my gift with the world and to be able to touch people’s lives with the written creations I bring to life. My dream has become a reality, to a degree, and I am very proud of myself for it. English was an obstacle for me for a while, but with determination and hard work I have mastered it. This goes to show that anything is possible, so long as we have the drive to achieve it.
Being a published author is not a career but a side project at the moment. In focusing on a career, I hope to be able to put my writing talents to use by going into the field of copywriting. But no matter which career path I am taken on, and no matter where life takes me, I will never stop writing, and so long as I can write and publish books I will. And who knows, maybe some day I will be a famous author, known and read, all over the world.
Here is one of my published books...
As you dive into the pages of A Crimson Tide you will find yourself swimming through the various colors of our lives from nature's beautiful palate, to red strokes of love and heartbreak, to the black veil that falls upon us when loved ones pass away from us, to darkening the pale where things become darker, deeper, philosophical, and psychological, where we battle with ourselves, and question our existence and our purpose in life.
© 2010 Lena Kovadlo