Week 46: Think Yiddish Dress Lumberjack

The stats:

I have studied Yiddish for 305 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 184 hours
I have reviewed 3,652 individual flashcards

I've reached on of those moments again, when all the words I don't know and then about 50 long phrases that are hard to remember all show up in my flashcards at once. It becomes a logjam of just brute memorization, hours of it, and in order to get through it I must suspend learning new words and phrases or it is just too much.

I am approaching the end of my first year of study, and I have somehow become unstuck in time.  At 46 weeks I am now 11.5 months into my studies, so should finish my first year in two weeks, but, of course, that's not true, because a month is never exactly four weeks. There are 52 weeks in a year, so I have six weeks until I complete my first year. That would put me in the first week of January of this coming year, and, yes, checking my calendar, the anniversary of the start of this project is January 6, so that's about right.

And yet my flashcards claim I am only 305 days into my studies, so I would have 60 days left -- two whole months! I suspect the discrepancy is because there were days in the past year when I was not able to study, and the flashcard program must not count them. I don't know whether I feel bad about having missed two whole weeks of study in the past year or am impressed that I only missed about a dozen days. After all, that's only, like, 3 percent of the whole year I missed. Still, I'm the sort of person who never has a sick day, so phooey.

I also don't know how to feel about the fact that I will end the year having learned about 4,000 words. I was hoping for 5,000, unreasonably, and expected to manage about 3,000, which I have exceeded. I supposed I have some time to cogitate on how I feel about this past year before I reach the end of it.

In the meanwhile, I find myself dressing a lot less British nowadays. I have always had an excess of civic pride for my home state of Minnesota, and the further away from it I have been, and the longer I have been away, the more irritatingly Minnesotan I have become. Although my adoptive family are native New Yorkers, it seems likely my biological father's family since the 1880s, making me a fourth-generation Minnesotan.

My girlfriend comes from a lumber family from the North Woods, and Minneapolis was originally a lumber town, and we've decided just to embrace that whole thing. I sort of feel like a character who appeared briefly in the television series "Northern Exposure." There is an episode in which the doctor in an Alaskan town, a Jewish transplant named Joel, learns of a death in his family. He attempts to assemble a minyan, and his friends scour the outlying territories for Jews. One of the people who answer the call is a burly, bearded trucker, and Joel cannot believe he is Jewish until he says the Shema on request.

So if you come to Minnesota looking for Jews, you're likely to find me, dressed in a plaid shirt, eating wild rice soup, living in an apartment of rustic wooden furniture, and studying Yiddish beneath photographs of a Northern lumber mill.

But I can say the Shema if you ask. Oh yah. You betcha.