Why I am learning Farsi

How and why do humans behave?

I'm a very curious person, and I've always been curious about humans in particular.

How do we behave, and why? What are our needs, our habits and what does it mean to be human? What are differences and similarities of human culture across the globe and how has this evolved historically? What are emotions, desires and dreams, and why do we have them?

There are countless questions that all boil down to one: how do humans work? A very similar, maybe identical question: who am I?.

What's really interesting to me, is that every person is unique. What's more, humans are evolving quickly and sometimes very drastically in a short amount of time. Not only are persons unique when compared to each other, but every person is also a different person at two points in time.

I want to improve my understanding of humans, and of myself.

Use your senses, or why I love empathy

I'm really a shy person. When I'm around a group of people, I'm usually not the one leading a conversation. I don't feel comfortable being at the center of attention. But I do like to be around people.

Every gathering of people is subject to a group dynamic, a system formed of individuals who contribute their share to the energetical pie that we refer to as atmosphere.

Ever notice the atmosphere of a meeting heavily changing when another person enters the room? One moment, everyone is quiet and withdrawn - the next moment, people open up and are engaging. Or the general mood of your team flipped upside down ever since the latest hire joined the team (hopefully for the better!).

Whenever I'm part of such a gathering, whether it is with friends, family, colleagues or strangers, I like to feel into the atmosphere. It's something I almost automatically do, like seeing or smelling. Like watching a movie, or smelling a flower, this is a way for me to reflect on and express myself.

I am very interested in meeting other humans. Human encounters are an opportunity for me to learn, grow and expand my horizon. Being empathic allows me to meet humans on a whole different level.

What does all of this have to do with Farsi?

How do you usually get to know a person? We can observe a person, feel into their energy, participate in common activities and even live together in the same apartment. But simply approaching that person and asking them some questions to start a conversation is usually a pretty effective way to build a connection.

Language is a big part of human expression and connection. Language is the most important and "telling" part of our culture. All the knowledge available to humankind is accessible with language.

Speaking English opens up so many worlds and interactions to me that wouldn't be possible otherwise. The languages German and French are an incredible enrichment to my personal treasure trove of experience.

I am very grateful to be born to a German mother and a Persian father and growing up in a circle of friends of many different cultural backgrounds.

I want to take the next step. I want to expand my horizon, explore my roots and follow my quest to understand humans by expanding my reach to a whole new demographic and cultural part of this world. This is why I want to learn Farsi.

A closing word

Learning a language is an exciting undertaking. It can get scary and challenging at times. But pulling through with it is surmounted with a big reward - the ability to use the language to read, sing and engage with other humans capable of speaking that language.

Learning Farsi is one step in a bigger project that I want to tackle: a roadtrip spanning Germany, eastern Europe, Turkey and Iran. I will share more information in time.

If you have any thoughts, criticism or questions you'd like to share, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I'd love to get to know you!

Update: this documentary by Duolingo is very relevant to my article and touches on many similar points. I wholeheartedly recommend to watch it!

Published 15 August 2018

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