I’m now 70% of the way through my summer intensive (one nice thing about a ten-week course is that the little progress bar in my head updates automatically at the end of each week), so I feel like I’m overdue for talking about how it’s going. There’s too much for one post, but I will say that my brain is stretching to accommodate new ways of thinking and being in the world, and that I’m very clear that I’m on the right path. It’s been lovely getting back into the rhythm of daily prayer and wonderful studying the intricacies of Talmud with my various chevrusa (study partners).
One of many transformative realizations: One thing I’ve always known about myself is that I’m terrible with languages. I’ve been a C student my whole life, whether in French or Latin, Middle English or Arabic. So I started flinging myself at the barrier of Hebrew last year, trying to rebuild the shambles of what I’d learned as a child. I downloaded two phone apps and used them every night before bed. I took a college course, running pell-mell across campus during my lunch break every day at work. And… I did pretty well. A-/B+ well. But I kept dismissing it, thinking this was still the easy part, any minute now I’m going to hit a wall I just can’t scale while my classmates sail past me. But I’m 70% through this intensive and my grades are the best I’ve ever gotten.
When I was in Colorado, a friend laughed out loud in disbelief when I told her I was a geeky loner with no social skills—I was by far the most social, most connected person in our class. It was time to let go of the childhood story that no longer fit my lived experience. Today, staring at my latest quiz grade and then turning back to the story I was translating, felt like another such moment.
I can’t wait to find out what else isn’t true about me.