My relationship with Latin had not been going well. We often fought and many times it would leave the room screaming “You don’t know me!” and I would sit utterly defeated because it was true: I didn’t know Latin. I tried though, but things were barely working. I kept telling myself that I did take our relationship seriously, but maybe the reality was that I didn’t. And so when I met with Greek for the first time I was nervous.
“They’re great!” everyone had told me, “They really take things slow.” I liked going slow. Maybe it would help us get to know each other better, unlike when I had started dating Latin. Latin had been demanding and right from the start, it had been daunting, and still is. So I was glad for a change of pace.
We met at the bookstore and we greeted each other a bit apprehensively, but when I took it in hand I knew this time things would be different. I could make things work this time. We went back to my place, thankfully Latin and I hadn’t been interacting much that summer and so they wouldn’t be able to barge in and make things awkward.
“Have you seen my alphabet before?” it asked curiously. I admitted that I hadn’t, but it was similar to the English alphabet wasn’t it? It gave me a strained smile and looked away putting its hands in its lap. “I’m sorry,” I stammered realizing I had made an error, “I didn’t mean to stereotype you.”
“No, it’s alright, everyone does,” it said quietly.
I felt really bad that already I was messing things up. “Perhaps you could show me?” I asked, hoping it might make Greek feel better.
“Gladly!” it told me with a real smile this time. And I was blown away, and down right intimidated. I had never seen an alphabet like that before. How was I going to read the language? Greek must have noticed my distress and laughed, “Don’t worry, here, let me show you how to form the letters.” And it showed me how to write each letter and which letter of the English alphabet it corresponded with, and I took my time practicing and practicing.
After that we got on grandly, it taught me its cases and genders, which were very similar to Latin’s; it taught me its words and how to compose sentences. My time with Greek has actually taught me to understand Latin better. Overall it’s been much gentler and patient with Greek and our relationship has been quite wonderful. In the last year things have become a bit strained, Latin and I are back together now, and so things are a bit uneasy between the three of us. I’m doing my best to spend time with both Greek and Latin, because, like I told myself when I first met Greek, I would make it work.
Sydney Pinchbeck is a 4th year Classical Studies major and one of the executives in the Classics and Medieval Studies Student Society. She describes herself as a lover of Greek and a total nerd, and you can chat with her on Twitter at @SydneyPinchbeck.