And in it I was reaching for a paradajz. I stood at the kitchen counter cutting vegetables with Mima and I said “daj mi paradajz.” But instead of obliging and handing me the paradajz located centimeters from her pinky she said “Na Engleskom” (in English). And I simply couldn’t. I couldn’t remember the name for that plump, water-based produce over which many a debate has ensued to determine its proper trapezoid in the food pyramid. Now up until this point the scenario was plausible but then my imagination took wing and the paradajz, much like the Grinch’s heart, grew three sizes but no prosperity came from the enlarged paradajz, much unlike the results of the Grinch’s heart augmentation. Fortunately the babel of farm animals – this week’s alarm chime – awoke me before the paradajz had the chance to develop a temperament or do any further harm and once I stood up to quiet the moos, the word tomato floated in and I felt set to embark on the day.
While trekking through the usual terrain to the university this incident of my unconscious brought me to thinking about the peculiarities that have come with learning a new language. Foremost we’ve all noticed our mother tongue slip while asking how much something costed or more regularly questioning our word choices. This has brought his unfortunate friend, apprehension, especially when hearing about the tough academia to come in but nine months. Furthermore French, the language I studied from 7th through 12th grade, has slipped in on more than one occasion, most regularly in pekara (bakeries), which adds a new bout of minor confusion setting apart the languages and slightly more worry for the times when I can barely complete a conversation with the French friends I’ve made. Serbian is unquestionably my focus this year but I never thought the two languages would mingle unsympathetically. However there’s been a consistent enchantment while learning a language in its apt abode and even if my French slips a bit this scene of my subconscious encouraged my wish to speak Serbian so well that English becomes secondary.