One of my favorite expression is “Laughter is the best medicine.” I suppose I got my humor from my father. He was always a great storyteller and I guess a little bit of him rubbed off on me. While I have some good memories of England as a child I think that to live in South East Asia back in the 80s one really needed a healthy sense of humor otherwise you would have gone insane. There were really too many wild adventures to tell that I don’t know where to start but I remember that one time we moved into a new house and my mother, being the kind soul that she is, wanted to give back to the community and decided to hire some local curtain makers to fit out the house. I could hardly believe my eyes when I came home from school – there were over 20 people in my house and not just the people there to measure the windows but the grandparents, uncles, children, babies. It was mayhem. There were kids running around. People walking in and out of every room. It took them hours but eventually everyone left. The only words my mother said were, “Don’t say anything.” Now that alone was crazy enough but a month later they all returned to put them up. Once they had finished most of them filed out and my mother went around to inspect them with the main two people. I still remember her looking for the partition. Most of the curtains didn’t meet in the middle but rather off to one side. One set was more like 80/20. My mother was in shock and turned to them and said, “Why don’t they meet in the middle?” I can clearly remember their answer, “But we didn’t measure to the middle.” – lol.
Now I look back and fondly remember it because it gave us hours of laughter. Each time we opened the curtains we were reminded of just how different life was there from back home. So now the question you might be asking yourself is, “Well, that was a cute story but why did he tell it?”
When we decide to learn something new, it requires change. But change is uncomfortable. Therefore, learning something new can be uncomfortable. I remember scratching my head many times when I started learning Japanese, I just couldn’t make sense of things. I made error after error and knew I wasn’t good. But that didn’t stop me, I just kept at it. Laughter kept me sane and I was able to change frustration into fascination. Rather than panic at something new, I became curious. I saw everything as a personal challenge. I knew if I just worked at it, I could do it.
The moral of the story – life might be serious but you don’t have to take things so seriously. Laughing is part of the fun in learning a language. Making mistakes can be rather funny at times. I still make them in Japanese and kick myself. When people laugh, they’re not laughing at you, but at the situation or the expression. I encourage all my students at Smith’s 英会話 Hirakata to just go ahead, say something crazy. See what happens.