I’m sorry you found my story to be “sad and uninspiring” — to me, my experience was neither. A valiant attempt was made. Didn’t turn out as hoped but I learned from the experience and although the experience was frustrating at times, it was far from sad.

I didn’t write the story to inspire but to help educate on all the factors that affect learning a foreign language. Rather than feeling like failures, those who haven’t been able to obtain fluency in a language should realize there are factors at play other than intelligence and persistence. Some of us, by no fault of our own, may never be able to converse in another language. Still, the trying itself is a reward, and even if one cannot manage more than simple phrases and conversations, learning to read and write in another language and to understand what is said when others speak are all great accomplishments.

I also wanted Americans to be more empathetic to immigrants who don’t master English easily or well. Usually, it’s not for the lack of trying.

To this day, more than forty years since I studied French, I can read Paris Match with a little time and effort and the ability to look up a few words, and I can adequately read elementary school level Spanish and can follow a conversation if it’s not too rapid. Perhaps, these accomplishments are not particularly inspiring but they are accomplishments nonetheless and ones that make me happy.

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I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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