I had this bright idea: I decided to learn Danish. So I visited the library and borrowed a CD/ book set. But when I turned to the first lesson, my heart sank. It all looked so complicated. Could I really learn a new language?

I bet you’re wondering why I want to read and write Danish. Well, I have this fantastic Danish friend called Uglemor. That’s not her real name, of course. I think Uglemor means MotherOwl, which is rather appropriate as Uglemor lives in the Owlery with her owlets. The Owlery is located in a village on an island in Denmark, a long, long way from where I live, here in Australia. But Uglemor is only a click of the mouse away, due to the wonders of the Internet.

I first visited Ugelmor’s blog which is called Krydderuglen, just over a year ago. When I arrived, I saw my blog link in her side-bar but I have no idea how Uglemor heard about my blog. I stopped to say hello, and later I discovered something very special: My comment was the very first comment ever on Uglemor’s blog.

I read all Uglemor’s posts. I love hearing about her life. Although we are both Catholic mothers living in villages, Uglemor’s  life is very different to mine. Uglemor is one of those wonderfully productive people who grow vegetables and flowers, bottle fruit, make soap, knit, sew, make natural dyes, draw and write…. You should see the baskets Uglemor weaves out of candy wrappers. I’ve never seen anything like them.

So how do I understand Uglemor’s posts if I can’t read Danish? Do I resort to Google Translate and read funny muddled up versions of her stories? No, there is no need to do that. You see, Uglemor is a very kind and generous person. She writes every post twice, once in Danish and then again in English, so people like me can enjoy her stories too.

I think about having to write all my own posts twice. Wow! That would be a lot of work. It would also take up a lot of time. And then I would need excellent language skills. I don’t think my Church Latin or schoolgirl French would get me very far.

I wondered how I could return Uglemor’s kindness. How could I say, “Thank you for translating all your posts into English”? And that’s when I had the bright idea of learning Danish. I thought, “Wouldn’t Uglemor be surprised if I wrote a comment on her blog in DANISH?”

I returned to my How-to-Speak-Danish book and flipped the pages. Then I saw exactly what I needed. I hopped over to Uglemor’s blog and posted my first Danish sentence. Uglemor understood it and even said she was impressed! How about that? I smiled.

I don’t know if I will ever read and write Danish properly, but this experience has led to some serious thinking: Do we English speaking people expect everyone to learn our language? Should I make more of an effort to learn a language which isn't my own? 

I really appreciate Uglemor’s kindness and generosity in translating her posts into English so I can read them, so I'd like to say...

Uglemor, I know I don’t have your language skills. I might never be able to comment properly in Danish on your blog, but I do have an imaginary daisy I’d like to give you with gratitude for your friendship....



If you haven’t yet visited Uglemor’s blog, Krydderuglen, please do. Uglemor will welcome you into the Owlery, and tell you all her latest stories in her beautiful and special way (in both Danish and English!)  Be sure to feast your eyes on her photos, and then leave her a little message.

K is for Krydderuglen and K is for Kindness: one very kind friend who lives in the Owlery.

Post a Comment

  1. Daisies translate into any language. As does the kindness of Sue Elvis. What a beautiful post... I am clicking right over to visit your dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy,

      I have really enjoyed getting to know Uglemor. Thank you for visiting her blog!

      Delete
  2. Uglemor sounds inspiring, Sue. She sounds like the sort of homemaker I'd love to be! I had a quick look at her lovely blog, just now, and I'll go back for a bigger browse, later.

    There's so many beautiful bloggers in this community - thank you for introducing us to another one:-)

    God bless, Sue and Uglemor:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicky,

      I've picked up some good knitting tips from Uglemor. You will enjoy looking at her soap recipes as you're a soap maker too. And don't forget to hunt down her candy wrapper posts!

      You are so right: Lots of great bloggers. I have made so many beautiful friends since I started blogging.

      Delete
  3. What an interesting blog, she and I have a lot in common.
    I didn't go as far as the library, but I did consult with Google translate (love it!) for a couple of comments I could leave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly,

      You left some comments in Danish? Wow!

      I never realised that English is Uglemor's second language until I visited her blog. She writes it so well.

      I am sure Uglemor dyes her own wool. She often posts colour swatches she wants to use in her work. I know you are talented in this area too.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Delete
  4. Dear Sue Elvis you just gave me the shock of the day. I checked my mail, and The Handmaiden had left a comment on my blog essentially telling me that you blogged about me. I looked at my blogroll, emitted a squeak-sound (appropriate for an owl) and shut down my internet. The Owlets all asked me what happened. When I told them they congratulated and kissed me and told me that I was famous now. I don't know if I want to be famous. But if so be, I'll never be as famous as you, Elvis' wife. ;)

    Thanks for making a blogpost about me, and rest assured that if I ever come to Australia, I'll cone and thank you in person, bringing the Writer and all the Owlets along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uglemor,

      I am giggling over the thought of you squeaking like an owl. Sorry to shock you! I don't think there is any danger of either of us becoming famous, but that's okay. It's much better to have some good friends to share our lives with. Thank you for being my friend. One day we just might get together. I would love to see you, the Writer and your wonderful Owlets in our country. That would be so special!

      God bless you!

      Delete
    2. If you ever come to Denmark, I'll come and meet you and your family in the airport.

      Delete
    3. Uglemor,

      Visiting Denmark? That sounds so lovely! One day it might actually happen, and I'd be very grateful for you meeting us at the airport. I shall start a fund for an overseas holiday!

      Delete
  5. Aww, what a nice thing to do! I don't think I'd have the patience to try and learn another language just so I could comment on someone's blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kellie,

      Although I'd have liked to learn another language, I haven't really got enough patience either. Good thing Uglemor is kind enough to do the translating!

      Delete
  6. Sue, I tagged you on my blog!
    http://sararose-justlittlerandom.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/the-fashion-tag.html
    Please tag one (or all) of your daughters as I tagged a LOT of people!
    Love Sararose xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sararose, I'll take a look!

      Delete
  7. Hello Sue! I'm loving this series! You are such a talented storyteller and I enjoy hearing about you and your lovely family :-)

    So wonderful that you learned a little Danish in honour of your friend Uglemor! I know nothing of Scandinavian/Germanic languages (I'm a romance linguist and currently teaching myself Ancient Greek for fun) but we're visiting Norway in June (via cruise ship) so I'm determined to learn at least a few basic phrases!

    Lucinda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucinda,

      I am so pleased you stopped by! I feel a little out of contact with what's going on in the homeschooling world at the moment. My poor blog is being neglected! It is taking all my time just to keep up with this blogging challenge. But I am enjoying myself and we are over halfway through it. I am determined to finish!

      Your holiday to Norway sounds wonderful! A great opportunity to learn a bit about another language. I hope you'll post photos and let us know how you get on.

      Thank you for reading my posts!

      Delete
  8. You're doing great! From my own small experience doing NaNoWriMo a couple of times (as a "rebel" - writing draft blog posts) I know how it can take over all one's spare time!

    Thanks for your encouragement with the Norwegian - I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the free online resources, but after reading your post I went ahead and ordered a good old-fashioned book!

    Enjoy the rest of the blogging challenge - I'm very much looking forward to reading the rest of the alphabet.

    Lucinda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucinda,

      I've done NaNoWriMo twice too! I noticed that one of the options for this month's Camp NaNoWriMo was to write a series of blog posts. I was almost tempted to do that, but then heard about the A-Z challenge. I am finding this a bit different because I need a polished post for each day. With my NaNo novel I just kept writing, knowing it wasn't perfect. In a way there was less pressure. Are you planning to do NaNoWriMo again in November? If you are we could be writing buddies!

      I know what you mean about being overwhelmed by language resources. I looked online first and then decided to just visit the library and borrow an old fashioned book and CD. Much simpler!

      Thank you for your encouraging words. With a few posts in draft form, I only have 7 more to write from scratch!

      Delete
  9. Yes, I can definitely see that having a polished post every day is quite a different challenge!

    I love the Camp NaNoWriMo's. I did my first NaNoWriMo in November 2011 but found it rather a struggle to fit in with everything else going on - and the days getting so dark here.

    So last year I decided to do it in August, when my children are playing on the beach all day - much easier (the hardest thing was staying inside long enough to write)! It was a bonus, then, to discover there was a Camp NaNoWriMo going in August. I do like seeing the word-ometer go up each day!

    I'm not as experienced a writer as you and I found both NaNoWriMo's a big challenge, but I learned SO MUCH from doing them, so I'm definitely doing it again this August!

    Lucinda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucinda,

      I love watching the word count going up and up too! That is a real incentive to keep writing.

      I learnt a few writing tricks from Chris Baty's book "No Plot? No Problem!"... Write, and keep on writing without going back and changing things. Don't worry about perfection or plot holes. Never delete anything. It's more important just to keep moving. Changes can be made after NaNo finishes while writing the second draft. I did actually take notes of things I wanted to change as I was writing, because I knew I'd forget otherwise.

      Yes, NaNoWriMo is a big learning experience! I haven't decided whether I'll do it again this year. I already have a couple of draft novels that need editing. Perhaps I should work on those instead of writing something new. I know my girls will do all the NaNo months though. They are passionate about it.

      Perhaps you could get your children involved. You could all make writing the focus for the month.

      I love talking about writing. Thank you!

      Delete
  10. PS Now I've mentioned the Norwegian here I feel like I've "committed" to learn a bit - thank you for helping with my accountability!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucinda,

      I am sure you'll learn some Norwegian. It will be fun!

      Delete

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