My Bahasa Indonesia is so bad!

Remember all that big talk I had about learning a new language?  Yeah, that went out the window for several weeks while I was busy being fed up with my idiot “boss” in particular, this organisation in general, and Indonesia overall.  Also, my intention of learning so that I would be independent by the time A left Indonesia became irrelevant when we left Aceh.  This was because we moved to Jakarta where I have more Bahasa-speaking colleagues so I didn’t have to worry about being the only 1 around and having little to no Bahasa Indonesia language skills.

But about a month ago, I decided to get myself back on track.  This was because of the kindness of 1 person.

When I just got to Jakarta, before I started feeling fed up, I observed 1 of my Jakarta colleagues receiving Bahasa tutoring from a local volunteer.  Afterwards, I made the mistake of asking her if she thought the volunteer would mind tutoring me.  I asked because, as you know, I had been receiving tutoring from a local volunteer in Aceh while I was still there.  This colleague (let’s call her N) said she didn’t think the local volunteer would mind.  My intention was to roll the idea around in my head for a few days to see if that was the way I wanted to go.  Imagine my shock when, a couple of days later, N piped up and told the local volunteer right in front of me that I wanted to do tutoring sessions with her.

I’m not gonna lie…while I’m writing this, I realise that I’m still a little miffed about that.  Sigh.  I’m going to have to forgive her for passing her place.  She had no right to do it.  The responsibility was mine to bring up possible lessons with the lady.  N had no idea whether or not I was still of a mind to have those lessons.  In short, she shoulda kept her mouth shut.

By that time, the feelings of being fed up were already starting and I really wasn’t feeling the desire to have the lessons.  But she outed me right there and the lady was so eager and kind that I couldn’t shut her down.  She set up a weekly time and showed up early on her next teaching day to tutor me.  After our lessons began, I cancelled twice because of work issues but she showed up early every other time.

After a couple of weeks, I realised that I had a problem.  I found that I hate being tutored.  The intentions were good but it was so harum-skarum that it wasn’t helping me at all.  My learning style is very orderly: I learn best by reading and writing and I prefer to have a logical plan for how I’m learning.  It finally occurred to me that there must be an app I could use, and of course, there is.  I started using it and found that I really like it because it’s helping me loads more than the tutoring.  Once I found the app, I decided that there was no point in continuing the tutoring.  So now I had to tell my very kind tutor that her services were no longer required.  How do you fire someone who’s trying to help you out just from the goodness of their heart?    As much as I’m over my people pleasing days, deliberately rejecting someone’s help isn’t easy.  It wasn’t because I wanted her to like me; it was because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by throwing her kindness back in her face.  I had to find an honest way of cancelling her help without hurting her.

I prayed about it and decided to just be honest but in a soft way (I’m one of those people who can be harsh when truth-telling).  I sent her a Whatsapp message saying that I was cancelling our lessons because I didn’t have the time to read the book we had agreed I should read that’s written in Bahasa (I truly didn’t have the time – trying to read a language you don’t understand and having to look up every other word is extremely time consuming and frustrating) and also our tutoring time was not good anymore because of the busyness of the centre at that time, which meant I kept having to cancel.  She was so gracious and said it was no problem and to let her know if I wanted to start up again or needed her help in any way.

Since then, my app has taught me a tonne of things (I use it almost every day) and my Indonesian has gotten a little better.  Also, A is now gone so I’m forced to use my little language skills when I’m out and about alone.  Still, somehow I make myself understood.  Thankfully, I’m off my high horse and back on track.

Bahasa saya tidak bagus tetapi aku belajar setiap hari.  Feel free to Google translate that.


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