[Noun; ~Pronunciation: /twelv/]
- Definition: They say misfortune never comes alone. I say: shock never comes without an after-wave. Or Two. Or eleven. My recent shock came in twelve-fold, actually, as I learned not only does Icelandic have three different gender-forms regarding their numbers one to four, they also have four different cases each. Thus: there are twelve ways to count to four in Icelandic.
“I do like to shock and surprise people. When it’s all in good fun, of course.”
– Ruth Warrick –
Surprises. I hate them. As a true control freak I don’t like being surprised at all. In fact, I rather plan all surprises, whether it’s for someone else or for myself. Basically, if I don’t know what I’m up against I get squeamish. You know, shaking all over and foaming at the mouth a little, that kind of squeamish.
Learning Icelandic is difficult. After having had no time at all to do any studying for about two weeks, imagine how happy I was when I finally had a few hours off to open my text book!
Now imagine me nearly toppling off my chair after reading page 93 (see picture).
I had just settled for “Funny, there are three ways to count to four in Icelandic! My language only has one”, but then the declensions entered the game and my brain was offered two options: struggle through it or face a complete meltdown.
Sometimes in life you unsuspectingly meet up with a bad surprise, one that leaves you with a bitter taste of shock in your mouth. But only after the initial effect of shock, your brains losing the ability to function, slowly dies down.
This happened to me when I learned my Canadian sister, C, has cancer. I don’t know why it took me so long, but the news finally started to sink in: she’s never getting better. Never.
I don’t want to talk about it, because it is her battle and I don’t want people to feel sorry for me that I might lose a friend. I don’t want people trying to comfort me, because I feel she’s the one who needs all the comforting right now. This story is not about me, it’s about her.
But it’s eating me up inside, though, because what can I do to help? Nothing. I can be there for her when she needs me, but that’s about all I can do for her right now, and even though I know that’s enough, it doesn’t feel like it is.
So I keep my mind occupied by staying busy and learning a language that’s way more difficult than I ever imagined. Do I quit? No, because everything in life that’s worth having is definitely worth the struggle.
C knows that. I know that. You know that. We all do. So we keep on going as if we have no other choice.
And if, at times, life gets too complicated and the weight on our shoulders is pressing down on us too hard, we can always take a breath, reset ourselves and continue our battles. Count to ten and try again.
Or count to four. I mean, there’s twelve ways to do that, so why not try that?
What have you been shocked about and how did you deal with that?