A Creative Stress Reliever!
Learning a new language is really difficult. One has to become a child again and enter an entirely new culture. The most frequent question that people ask about language studies is, "why learn a new language?"
During my six months of language study, I was really struggling learning Cebuano. My brain was suffocated with new words, grammar, and more every day. Sometimes I felt like quitting, but I realized I did not want to quit. My body also reacted to the change of climate, culture and language. Well I thought that since I have a goal to achieve, I needed something in order to continue my journey. I decided that I needed to do some self-care during this time.
Upon reflecting on this there are several methods which we can use to smooth the rough road. I tried practicing my Cebuano with the children in our neighborhood, but they wanted to speak in English so that didn't work for me. My conversation with people daily was an awesome experience. Then I realized since I love music why don't I use this method to ease my struggles? So I started listening to Visaya songs mostly, hits by Yoyo Viliame and Max Surban, well they were maybe old hits, but the lyrics were understandable. Once I heard a song sung by Max and one of the lyrics was "dili kana ang problema," which translates to, "just relax and enjoy." At that moment I felt like he was talking to me. So I decided to relax writing a poem or song everyday in Visaya. I decided to compose a song in Visaya expressing my feelings that during my three years in mission in the Philippines.
I wrote: He will be my compass, my captain that will take me around where ever I go. He will be my yesterday, today and my future. He is my love and my world. The Columban lay missionaries included this song in their book that was launched during the 2018 centennial celebration of the Columbans in the Cagayan De Oro. In appreciation, I was happy to perform the song on that day.
Now I realize that in learning a new language I gained more confidence when I get positive feedback from native speakers. I become friendlier to locals when I speak the native language. And also it keeps my mind young and active. So listen to that classic jazz and just relax and enjoy to your music, it's a stress reliever.
Columban lay missionary Vasemaca Ratu lives and works in the Philippines.