Sunday, October 21, 2007

Unfulfilled Dreams

I've been tagged by Crushed at Ingsoc with a meme. Dreams. I thought he himself answered the meme brilliantly, calling it Dreams that Etch Themselves on our Soul. As is his wont, Crushed talked about dreams involving high ideals. If you missed it, go visit.

Now I'm at the latter part of my life and although there are many things I would like to see achieved in my lifetime on a global level, for mankind, I can't really think of too many things that I still wish I could personally achieve. Or more likely that I could possibly achieve. One has to be realistic here. So I'm going to answer this tag by talking about some unfulfilled dreams.

The first one was to be really fluent in a language other than English. Truly bilingual. So capable I could think in that language, whatever it might be. Studying Latin and French at school, I thought I had achieved a fairly high level of proficiency with both, although one is never fluent in Latin these days and with French I was never quite there. I flirted with German for a year when I lived in England but it didn't stick. Finally I took on Italian which for me was the perfect language. Melodious, with every letter pronounced, and full of wonderful complicated grammar, Italian was and is a delight for me. Again I flirted with it for a while and let it drop due to the pressures of life. In the early nineties I began studying it again and have continued for years. I have done University level courses, I have been to study at language schools in Italy on three separate occasions but I still sound like an English speaker translating into Italian as I go along. I want to be able to think in Italian, even dream in it! It's just not possible taking class once a week. One needs to live there for at least a year and take courses to achieve that level. Never happened, never will.

This one I've talked about previously but I'll repeat it. I wanted to be an expert on something. You know, the go-to person when you need the last word on some subject. The one they interview on the radio or TV about some news item, because you are the local expert on the topic. I don't even know what subject I wanted to be an expert in. Funnily enough my husband was an expert in his subspecialty of physical chemistry but no one ever asked his opinion on TV or radio. Indeed this was such a very amorphous dream how on earth could I ever achieve it.

In my dreams I have perfect control over my body and I am an Olympic gymnast. I can do any of those things I see them do on TV. Perfectly. I don't find the vaulting particularly interesting but the mat work and the balance beam and swinging on the parallel bars are all things I can do perfectly. In my dreams.

For some years I had this dream that when both my husband and I retired we would go to Africa and volunteer our services. He would teach Chemistry and I would be a pharmacist in some clinic. Finally you say, an altruistic dream. It was never well thought out, never explored in any detail. Just something I thought would be a great thing to do. It's ten years since he retired and nine for me, but it never happened. I guess it was my dream and not his. He just wanted to play golf and I got involved in other things. Too late now.

There is still a chance that I might achieve my last dream for this post. I haven't given up totally on it. Again I have spoken at length on this dream here. I want to go on safari to Africa. I want to see the Big Five in real life instead of on TV. But I also want to see the land of Kenya and Tanzania, maybe Botswana. Who can forget the scenery in Out of Africa? Although I've had this dream since long before I saw that film. One day, this one might happen, but I should hurry before it too becomes just another unfulfilled dream.

I'm not going to tag anyone, but if this meme appeals to you I'd like to read about your dreams.

If I had $7000 dollars to spare I could purchase the twenty three inch high sculpture, Female Gymnast by Robert McArthur, shown above.


Janice Thomson said...

Well one thing is certain - you're an expert writer. I never pass by a single line of your posts Jmb. They are witty, eloquent and informative. So there you have it - an expert in writing abilities.
We have the power within us to be and do whatever we dream of; it's just a matter of learning how to work around our limitations.(sure sounds easy doesn't it)
If you ever get that sculpture could we share it - three months at your home and nine at mine? LOL
Wonderful post as usual Jmb.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I'd like to se the rift valley- well I'd like to see Africa full stop, but to see the environment where our species first appeared would be astounding, I think.

I think it's hard to be TRULY bilingual. My mother is from another country, she came to the Uk as an au pair. When I was young she still counted in her native language.
Now she doesn't. She admitted to me a year or so ago when I asked that she now dreams in English and has to think to find words in her native language. She went back for her father's funeral and her relatives observed she spoke with an English accent.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a fabulous post, jmb! I love the sculpture, too. It's never too late, though - and you could certainly do the safari one day, then write all about it for us! Auguri

MedStudentWife said...

Very honest -

I'm thinking if I want to post such thoughts about me.

I love that bronze of the gymnast.. it reminds me of of a bronze I saw.. a skeleton with five masks it was holding, that I really wanted, but it had a super duper price tag.. maybe it reminded me of my dreams, too

Vic Grace said...

We share some dreams, I always thought it would be great to be able to speak another language.

Thanks for coming to my blog and commenting about the pictures of 'just mountains and lakes', it is one of the most beautiful spots on earth isnn't it.

lady macleod said...

Pa shaw! You are MY go-to-person after this visit; you are encyclopedic on many subjects - the LIberty bell indeed!

jmb said...

Hi Janice,
Thank you for your kind words, although I think you must be thinking about someone else.

The truth of the matter is sometimes we don't want the dream enough to make it happen. I am a make it happen person usually. Either life or ability got in the way of these dreams to make them unfulfilled.

Don't you love the statue? I wish I had the money to spare to buy it . Look at the musculature and the pose.

Hi Crushed,
You are right, I think it would be wonderful to go to where the Leakeys and Donald Johanson made their finds. I think African Genesis and Lucy, the Beginnings of Humankind were two of the most important books I have ever read.

Interesting story about your mother. Don't you wish she had taught you her language as a child? I have such high hopes for my only grandchild, with her Italian father and my bilingual daughter (French/English) as her mother.

Hi Welshcakes,
Thank you. The first four things are never going to happen. Even the Italian is slipping away, I should read in Italian again. The safari, maybe.

You are welcome to take the idea for a post. You have one very big dream that will be filled one day. Although it's hard for you now.

Hi Vic Grace,
Good to see you, we don't visit often enough do we? We move in different blog circles but check on each other now and again.
Your home town is so beautiful, I really laughed when you said just mountains and lakes.

Thanks for coming by and commenting

jmb said...

Lady Mac,
Well the Liberty Bell sure, for now, but ask me in six months and I probably will have forgotten it all!
Safe journey!

Julie said...

A modest person of many talents, by the sound of it. I hope you go on the safari; everyone should live some of their dreams...

Liz said...

Botswana - have you read the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, jmb? Precious makes Botswana sounds just perfect.

I am rushing now but will be back to comment on your posts properly later.

The window-cleaner is outside, I am still in my dressing-gown and I have to be somewhere by 10. I am wondering how I am going to shower and dress without - Husband has just reminded me that he doesn't use a ladder! He has one of those special extendable thingies. Yippee, I can go and shower!

Gledwood said...

I know exactly how you feel: I really really tried to improve my German by subscribing to Stern Magazin weekly... etc... but it's still not quite good enough to comfortably read a newspaper, and certainly not enough to read a novel in German... I know I could go live there and would be speaking it proper fluently in 6 months tho...

one thing you could do is get satellite TV... surely it's not THAT expensive... or you might even be able to watch RAI over the internet... if you're at a high level those kind of things will probably help far more than classes ...

Mary said...

Hi JMB - I hope you get to Africa and we can all enjoy reading your blog about your adventures. Sometimes I dream I am driving a car, but in real life even crossing the road sends me into a panic!! Even when I passed my driving test years ago I wasn't happy behind the wheel, then my children used to drive my car after they'd passed their tests but didn't have their own vehicle (they never did find out how to put petrol in!) and eventually I just gave up completely!

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

You have read Lucy?
Interesting book that- one of the first to get me started on evolution as a topic of study.

jmb said...

Hi Julie,
Not so many talents actually, although you certainly can never have too many talents! I keep talking about it although I don't do it. Australia has to be the next trip, however, family calls. Well the inlaws do.

Hi Liz,
I have although I am not as big a fan as many are. I heard from a friend that Botswana was really great.
What a dilemma, but all solved with the window washer.

Hi Gleds,
I was not so fond of German so did not pursue beyond the year. Not a beautiful sounding language like Italian. How is your Japanese going? I have half a dozen phrases from my visit fifteen years ago. I can also count from 1-10. So useful.

Hi Mary,
As you can imagine if I go everyone will hear about it ad nauseam. Too bad about your driving because it gives you such independence.

Hi Crushed,
Lucy was a great book and what a discovery to make when DJ was so young. Unfortunately very hard to top it.
African Genesis started my interest in evolution, although not written by a scientist. Then I moved to Teilhard de Chardin.
I thought of this when you were talking about how history began with talking.

Carver said...

I loved reading this post. I think it's as interesting to find out about dreams as realities. It will probably take me a few more decades to even admit to mine. I'm with you on the Female Gymnast. I'd love to own that one too.

My Aunt did go to Africa after she retired. She helped set up library programs in Africa through a group she was involved in. She was, at one time, fluent in five languages. She set up library programs, when she worked at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, for students who were non native English speakers. I forget how long she was in Africa after she retired from the U of MI, or the details (like which country, ha) but I'll have to ask her. Your post reminded me of that. My mother died in 1990 but all 4 of her siblings are still alive which is great.

I always say that my daughter got her gift for languages from my mother's younger sister, since I'm hopeless. I too studied French and Latin but I wasn't good at it. I only took French in college to fulfill a requirement although I wish I could have learned more.

Take care, Carver

Lee said...

Our dreams are what keep us going on sometimes...whether we succeed in fulfilling them (even some of them)isn't really what matters most, I believe...that we have them and that we aspire is what is important.

jmb said...

Hi Carver,
Thank you for your kind words. I didn't think about the subject much until I was tagged.
What a wonderful for your aunt to do. My daughter is a great language student too. She teaches French and is qualified to teach Italian plus she is now doing Spanish.
Hi Lee,
I guess it's not these dreams that are keeping me going but I still would like to travel some more, as long as I have no health problems. I am getting on, after all!