I have battled with you since I was eleven years old. When I was in fifth grade at a public school in Russia, our class was divided into two groups for studying a foreign language – half class to study English and half class to study German. My hard-to-pronounce last name, Ogorodneva, set right in the middle of the class roster and our teacher left a big decision about choosing the language for studying up to me. I chose you, the English language.
Have I had regrets since? Of course, I have many times, more than I remember and dare to count. Your grammar is as far away from my native Russian one as New York is from Moscow. I still lose “the” and “a” all the time, use many weird phrases like “turn left” instead of “take a left turn”, and twist my tongue every time I get ready to fathom hard words like “thaw” and “three”. I dream in English now, and as smart people say – you embrace the foreign language after you start dreaming in it.
After studying you in public school, college, university, with private tutors and endless grammar manuals, I’m proud to say that I believe we are friends now. Last month, on the memorable day of August 14, 2021, I received two (2!) awards for the Olive Woolley Burt 2021 Writing Contest. First Place in Flash Fiction and First Honorable Mention in Creative Non-Fiction Genre. I was speechless, breathless, and on the verge of crying when I learned about my modest victory in the endless battle on the English grammar field.
Love-hate relationships are still on the table. I won’t lie that it is easy for me to write a story or even come up with sentences in English. I will choose Russian every time over English. But I do write in English every day and love it. I am fascinated by your spoken word and see the beauty of your written word more often now. I still have much to learn, but I’m not going to give up. Thank you for being so patient with me.
So long. I will hear from you soon again.
With all my love,