|a chart similar to the one in my book. |
photo credit: http://www.cedar.buffalo.edu/script/Dscript.html
I took French for five years. I never could really understand it spoken to me. I'd pick out a few words and use context to figure out what was being said... but I didn't really understand. I could read it pretty well, write simple essays, speak it well... but my listening skills were sorely lacking.
And it hit me today. When I was a baby I had chronic ear infections. Both of my ear drums burst several times before they went away in adolescence.
That means when I was acquiring my primary language as a toddler, I didn't hear the same as my peers.
Obviously, I managed. But I know I hear differently even now; when I hear partially, my brain often guesses to fill in the gaps... unconsciously. My hearing still goes in and out, but I only notice because a) my loved ones tell me I suddenly get absurdly loud and b) I notice I mishear or have to ask people to repeat themselves more often. I also get what I call "background noise deafness", where I hear everything at the same volume. So I'll be like sitting in the cafeteria and everyone is talking (and hearing each other fine) and my ears can't pick out the voice of the person two feet to my right from the rest of the din. Unless I concentrate on their lips. It's not that I lipread, per se, it's just that by focusing on the movement of lips, I can more intelligently realize what the noise means... it's hard to explain.
Especially since I don't notice it much. I'm no means deaf, I typically function completely normally.
|Lydia, back in college. (don't have a photo of me with mine)|
Anyway, you may be wondering why this belongs in a Thankful Thursday post. Well, realizing this made me realize how much things we thought we were past affect us daily. How experiences and environments shape us without our knowledge... so that toddler ear infections you never think about make foreign language acquisition more challenging.
And how does that make me grateful? Well, I'm thankful that God numbers the hairs on my head... and knows just how much scar tissue my eardrums have. He counted every tear the infections caused me. Things like this remind me how limited my perspective is and how perfect is His. He never misses a single detail, which means I can lean on His sovereignty.
And it makes me thankful the human brain was made so adaptable. Like a stroke victim whose neural pathways re-wire, my limitations didn't keep me from functioning. I hear slightly stranger than average, but you wouldn't guess it if I didn't tell you.
I'm also grateful I had parents and doctors who took care of me then, so the damage didn't get extensive.
And I'm grateful to be moving to a country where English is widely spoken so if my Hindi fails me I'll probably muddle through.
And I'm grateful I have readers who love me even if I blog less consistently than normal. (Right?... I had nothing new to say for Wedding Wednesday anyway.)
Love to you all!
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