I’m German and as far as I’m aware don’t have any Welsh ancestry or relations. Years ago a friend of mine introduced me to BBC’s “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood” series. I got hooked, watched the series and purchased some of the novels. I enjoyed the stories, but the idea of starting to learn Welsh didn’t even cross my mind back then. And being up to the nose in my studies certainly didn’t help. After I passed my exams I was actually at a bit of a loss – how should I pass all these free hours I suddenly had?
Well, reading books is always an option, so I read one of the “Torchwood” novels again. And there they were: A few lines of Welsh, but no translation anywhere. You didn’t have to understand the Welsh in order to follow the plot, but it was clear that it was somehow important and I was curious and frustrated at the same time. I really wanted to know what this short message in Welsh said! Online dictionaries didn’t help, so I simply decided that I’d have to learn at least enough Welsh to decipher the meaning of the message.
Having rather unsuccessfully tried to learn Japanese and Italian before, I looked for a free online course and found Duolingo. I started the course and found myself unable to stop. Please forgive me for sounding soppy, but it comes down to this: I fell in love with Welsh. It felt right to learn it. It felt like coming home. I never had this kind of experience with any other language I learnt or tried to learn before.
Although I did find SSi quite early on my search for online courses I still hesitated to sign in. I couldn’t yet tell whether I’d stick with Welsh or lose interest in it after all, despite how I felt about it. Well, as you can see, I did stick with it. It helped me through two more really tough and time-consuming years of education and after I finished those, I finally decided to join SSi.
Definitely one of the best choices of my life and my only regret at the moment is that I can’t participate in the chats on Slack as often as I’d like to and am not able to go to actual meetups or events in Wales.