Were you born in Australia? Have you ever faced any language barriers in this country? I’ve lived in Australia for more than 10 years now, but I still struggle with English.
When I was little, I was always interested in English. My otousan (dad) was a professor of English Literature (well.. more Irish?) , so I asked him to write my name in English on all my stationary at school and I loved it!
When I started to learn English in Year 7, it instantly became my favourite subject. I always got the best mark in the class and I felt pretty confident about it.
Then when I was 16, I stayed with an Australian family in Coffs Harbour for 6 weeks. A pre-arrival document that informed me about my homestay family showed that my little Australian “sister”, Erin, shared the same birthday with me. So when I met her at the airport, I tested my English by telling her that her birthday was same as mine – but she didn’t get what I was saying at all!
Since then (not because of Erin!) I became so scared of being asked “Excuse me? What did you say?” I totally lost my confidence. Maybe people sometimes ask me to say it again because they just didn’t hear me properly or my voice was small, but I usually blame any misunderstanding at all on my English.
After ten years of living in Australia, I still haven’t got my confidence back. I don’t think I can work for a local company where I have to use English every day. When I lost my job, I thought my only choice was to work for a Japanese company or Japanese restaurant. I know they require high level English too, but at least clients or customers know I’m a Japanese and they can be generous about my mistakes...that’s what I thought.
Then my life plan changed and, as you may have read in my other entries, I’m trying to be a shop owner now. I wanted to avoid using English for my work as much as possible, but I’ve somehow chosen a job that requires me to use English even more...like writing this blog in English. My passion has taken over my feeling of inferiority.
In a way, while my ultimate aim is of course to have a successful shop, I’m also looking forward to seeing how I can improve my English through my work over next couple of years. Do you think I can get my confidence back someday? I hope so!