My Welsh learning journey continues…

It’s been a long old time since my last post (4 months!) but I am still here and my Welsh learning journey continues…

Learning Welsh for me is not just apps and audio courses but also being involved in all the different events life hands you through the medium of Welsh.

Since I last wrote I have attended my first Welsh Christening and sadly my second Welsh funeral. I feel honoured and blessed to have been at both as a member of the Vaughan-Evans family.

The Christening was for my husband and I’s niece and nephew- Dyfan and Elan- in Anglesey at the end of May. The service was completely in Welsh, 100%, and I was disappointed in myself that I couldn’t follow much of it even with the Welsh service sheet! However my disappointment was slightly diluted when speaking to some first language Welsh people afterwards who also struggled to match the service sheet with where we were in the service! Phew! It was a lovely day, incredibly special for Dyfan and Elan and the whole family.

In June we lost our wonderful Beth to a brave 18 month fight with cancer. Beth was my mother in law and so supportive with me learning Welsh. At the end of June we said goodbye to Beth at 2 beautiful Welsh funeral services. The welsh hymns and music were so emotive…it reminded me how powerful music is- it transcends language. Beth’s eulogy was delivered by Nick- a fantastic public speaker. Again all in Welsh and I didn’t understand a lot but the feeling and sentiment of the speech all around how caring Beth was transcended and resonated with me anyhow. It was as though without language all my other senses were somehow heightened…it was the most ‘present’ I have ever felt at a funeral and even though I couldn’t understand all the words I laughed and cried with everyone as Nick delivered anecdotes and memories. Near the end, Nick included a message to me. He said Beth told him how proud she was of me learning Welsh which was really touching and makes this journey in the pursuit of Welsh even more meaningful. 

At the end of June, The Vaughan-Evans family took part in Snowdon Rocks- an annual charity hike up Mt. Snowdon in aid of the ‘By Your Side’ appeal by Awyr Las (Blue Sky) who supports people with cancer and their families across North Wales. The family hiked in memory of Beth and everyone made it up and back safely. My father in law, Ian, and I caught the train up to meet everyone at the top so had some time at Llanberis as we waited for the train. Ian set me a series of Welsh challenges which I accepted apprehensively. I successfully ordered a Welsh cake and a cuppa at the cafe in Welsh. And, dauntingly, I asked a complete stranger if they knew where ‘Stephens cafe’ was. Luckily Ian was there to help me interpret the answer and you will be pleased to know we actually found Stephens cafe where we met the walkers as they made their descent! It’s about 10mins up the first part of the Llanberis route if you want to know for future…they make a good cuppa! Ian said encouragingly that that is a big milestone for a Welsh learner to ask a question of a stranger yn cymraeg. And I did it- WOOP!

Lots more has happened since then but perhaps I shall leave that for another blog post and I shall leave you with an update on how I’m getting on with my more formal learning….

I’m so behind on my Welsh learning app Duolingo with everything going on. Frustrating that I am having to keep going over old lessons to gain “health” before I can start new ones. But I’ll keep preserveering.

My goal for October is to also re-engage with my Say Something in Welsh course by doing at least 2 lessons….it’s good to have a plan!

Ta ra rwan!