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Something I haven’t shared much, if at all, is that I have had a life long interest in Native Americans.

When I was a little girl, not yet a teen, my parents let a Great Aunt take us to a Vacation Bible School program one evening. Native Americans, in full regalia, did a presentation. I don’t remember what they talked about, probably couldn’t have told you at the time either, I was so enamored by the beautiful feathers, leather fringed shirts, bead work, drums, etc.

That year at our local Town Meeting, for the fourth of July, Native Americans performed, danced and sang. They had a table of handmade bead work, leather pieces, etc. My father bought me a pair of ankle bells.

During my lifetime, I’ve collected some Native American decor and enjoyed learning about their culture, spirituality, and lives.

When Dances With Wolves came out, I probably watched that dozens of times. They spoke the Lakota language, and the movie exposed me to their specific beliefs and lifestyle.

About 6 or 7 months ago I realized I was having increased difficulty with my short term memory. A friend online suggested that learning a language could be a great way to strengthen my memory, keep my mind active, as I get older.

I found some great videos on You Tube that provided simple language lessons for the Lakota Sioux language. I started learning some basic words, then some simple sentences. I sprung them on my hubby, son and best friend, confusing them, but they were interested and thought it was a pretty language.

My best friend had been talking for about 5-6 years about wanting to travel to the Dakotas, to see Native Americans, attend a Pow-Wow.

When I told her I was interested in learning the Lakota language, she said she’d like to do it with me, if I could find a program that provided lessons. I started doing some research and found a language course that included a lesson book and CDs. I explained to her that I’d found a language course, but couldn’t afford to get it until Christmas time.

She started offering to buy it, wanted to get it for both of us so we could learn it together. Even my husband had said he wanted to learn it too. She wanted to buy one that we could all share. I told her I wasn’t sure how that would work, if she wanted the book and CDs when I was using them, or vice versa. I told her I wanted to buy my own and couldn’t do so until closer to Christmas. She insisted she would buy a course for herself and for me. I declined a number of times.

She finally said she was going to just buy two courses, she wanted to get started and knew how badly I wanted to learn it. She ordered it here, asked me to make the order on my computer because her computer wasn’t working. I told her I’d pay her back. She argued that she didn’t need to be paid back, she knew she couldn’t learn it without me, she’d need motivated.

We got our courses and got started. We met once a week and went over the vocabulary, getting to the end of the first disc. It was interesting, I practiced on my own every day and when we got together we spent at least two hours working on the lessons.

It became clear, quickly, within a month, that she wasn’t practicing on her own, in fact, she admitted to that. She started telling me I would have to learn it then teach it to her. Each time we got together the amount of time allowed for working on our language lessons lessened. Some days when we got together she didn’t even bring her book with her.

One day when she’d not brought her book for the third or fourth time, I asked her if she was really interested in learning it, if it was too difficult, if she’d changed her mind. She told me it was interesting, but she didn’t think she could do it, wasn’t really committed to learning it, was looking for something else to do. I asked her why she wanted to do it with me, offered to buy the course, etc., if she wasn’t sure she really wanted to learn it, knowing that learning a language is challenging.

She responded, “Well, I got drug into this.”

I was devastated. I’d told her about it, knowing she was interested in Native Americans, the Sioux in particular, just as I was. I didn’t twist her arm, I told her what I was doing, learning words and phrases online, that I was enjoying it, I  suggested it was something we could do together, if she was interested. She was the one that kept insisting on buying the course, that she wanted to get it and get started. I certainly didn’t feel that I’d drug her into anything, or forced her in any way.

After that she stopped talking about it, didn’t bring her book back and began to not even visit. She had health problems which I’ve written about in other blogs.

I’d wanted to pay her back for my course in December, but didn’t have the money to do so, so we made a point of taking money for it out of our income tax refund. I’ve written her a check in the amount of the course so I can finally pay her back.

I had initially wanted to tell her how much she’d hurt my feelings by suggesting she’d been somehow forced into doing it, but have decided I’m just going to pay her back, as I’d promised and if she tries to refuse the money (which I know she will) I’m going to explain that I’d always intended to pay it back and now, knowing she’s only working part-time, for less hourly wages and lost her management position, she needs the money and I want to make good on my promise.

If I explain how she’d hurt my feelings she’ll just deny that she said that. I don’t want to argue with her. I just want to make good on my promise to reimburse her.

Would you let her know that she’d hurt you, or just leave it alone, pay her back and let that be the end of it?

Update on the blog Why Not?

I asked my friend if she truly didn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to give anything else to her son after everything we’ve gone through with him. She denied having asked me why I wouldn’t be willing to give him something. She said she understood why I’d feel that way and insisted she’d not asked me that. After I reiterated she most certainly had, she said she’d asked “why not” about something else we’d been talking about, when I pointed out that I’d only talked to her about wanting to give some things away then she admitted she’d probably asked that, but only because it’s automatic, not something she thinks about, just something she might blurt out. ??

 

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