Between Freddy, Gordon and Dickens

A tale of my journey in learning (my take on the challenge)


Know what? I’ve never wondered about my history in learning English. Not until of course Brad ( @brad5patterson) set yet another jaw dropping pondering on his new challenge; How and Why we learned foreign language.

I was raised in a house where 2 languages are spoken; bahasa Indonesia and Javanese language. I was pretty much heard those language being used among my big family. Though I’m not a fluent Javanese speaker, I do understand and ocassionaly speak it.

My beloved late grandfathers were both fluent in foreign language. One was fluent in Japanese and the other was fluent in Dutch. Both were also good in English, as well as my father. Til now I have always regretted the fact that I used  to refuse being taught to speak Japanese and Dutch. Because I was already mesmerized by the beauty of English.

Well, not the language itself at first actually. Since I was a child, I have loved music! My father collects a lot of cassettes because he loves listening to them at home. One of the first song that I really love was “Born to love you” by Queen. I was so eager to sing it but I didn’t know the lyric. And as I was (and still) a very clumsy girl, my father has always told me not to mess with his collection, so what I did was I tried to listen to the lyric then sang it based on what I’ve heard. You can bet I made tons of mistakes when I finally get my hands on the lyrics! But that was actually the drive that got me doing it again and again! I was determined to sing all my favorite songs.

One of my late grandfather who was a columnist for a women’s magazine here in Indonesia found out that I love singing and talking in English so he used to get me, my sis and my cousins to record ourselves talking , singing and reading poems though not all were done in English. But it got me love English more! This time cause I had found my first love! He is none other than Gordon summer or Sting. When i was a child, technology wasn’t like now, so of course I couldn’t google his lyrics everytime I heard his new song on the radio. But it pushed me to try to listen better to his words.

But as much as I love using english, I had never had the guts to use it outside my house. Until our school went to the biggest Islamic exhibiton here in Jakarta. We were trying to find out where one of the artifact was exhibited and there was nobody to ask but an old foreign woman, So I collected my nerves and asked her. When she understood my question and answered it, that was the moment when I knew I have to learn more about this language.

So there I was. Eager to learn more. My father asked me to listen to English songs and then tried to capture them then wrote down the words, later on I got to check what I’ve heard on the real lyrics. It was such a fun game for me! I also watched a lot of TV show like “Mork and Mindy” , “ Bonanza”, “The Cosby show”,  “Perfect stranger” and “Little house by the prairie” and tried to understand the story without looking at the subtitle. I  think what got me falling in love with English is the variety and diversity of the language that is so different from bahasa Indonesia.

When I was 14, my grandfather gave me my other love: Charles dickens’ “A tale of two cities”. It was hard for me to understand the whole sentences in the book, but once I got a hold on the story, I learnt that you don’t really need to know all the words to understand the story. And of course got me wanting to read more.



When I was young I had never learnt English other than what I’ve got in school actually. I had never taken any course or lesson. You see, my house was far away from the city. I had to travel around to the other side of the city just to get to school, and back then there wasn’t many good courses except in the centre of Jakarta. But then again, my late grandpa didn’t think I need to, since he believed that he could provide the lesson that I need, and I had great teachers in school too. In fact the course that I’d finally taken was French! It didn’t last long since the French culture office where I took the lesson was far away from my house. I had to sleep over at my aunty’s house whenever I attended the lesson! Yup! That far away J 

But I am lucky now that not only that I get to use English every single day, I get to learn a lot to from my PLN here. So though my English isn’t as fluent as many of those who take this challenge, but I’m still able to communicate with you guys and have got you to actually (hopefully) understand what I’m saying.

 I am proud to say that I am still learning and will never stop. Oh, and sometimes soon, I’m going to try to take that French lesson again 😉 . So thanks a lot Brad for taking me back to those good old days!


Ps: I actually cried typing this as I miss my grandfathers so much now, but happy to have them in my life too.



One thought on “Between Freddy, Gordon and Dickens

  1. Hi Cherry!Thank you so much for this. Sugar coated? hehehehe. Well at this point you’re one of the people who understand and know this ‘Icha girl’ behind those anecdotes and goofy acts. And I am so thankful to have you on my PLN. Going to wait for your story now then ^_*

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