I have never been much of one for foreign languages.
I took French for two years in high school and then, as my language requirement here at Truman, I took two years of German. Neither of the experiences for me were bad, per se, but I did meet my share of challenges during them. Unfortunately for most students in the United States, picking up another language isn’t as easy as it seems. The language center in our brains closes in early adolescence. To gain proficiency and even achieve fluency in another language, researchers suggest starting around age seven! Some people say fluency is truly achieved when you start dreaming in your recently acquired language.
I know I have told you guys that I dream a lot more vividly now that I am vegan, probably as a result of higher quality sleep. I tend to remember the really vivid dreams well into the day and I had a dream last night that woke me up because it jarred me so much and was so vivid — and no, it wasn’t about foreign language. I just wanted to give you guys some background to what I hope to communicate at the end of this.
I had a dream last night where I was back home with a group of about seven friends — we were all in the car (don’t know whose it was) and chatting happily and excitedly when we a few of the girls decided they wanted ice cream at this place back home (it’s actually frozen custard and it is delicious). We drove to the place and went through the drive through and I, of course, didn’t order ice cream/frozen custard since it obviously isn’t vegan. Instead, I ordered this thing that they don’t have on the menu/my subconscious must have made up: some sort of mashed banana concoction with a whipped-cream like substance on top of it.
I was eating happily and was about halfway through the treat when I realized (albeit very delayed) that the whipped cream wasn’t vegan. I put my spoon down and stopped eating and got really quiet in my dream and was so upset, my friends had to take me home. In my dream, I was crying and felt really sick to my stomach which is probably why I woke up.
I always experience that foggy confusion when I wake up from a dream: was that real? Am I still dreaming? I sat up in bed for about five minutes and let myself arrive back in my own room to realize that no, it wasn’t real — yes, it was a dream and yes, I am still a vegan.
My point in all of this is just as people learn a language well enough to dream and think in it, being vegan has become so normal for me that my subconscious identifies as a vegan and acts accordingly while dreaming. When I woke up for good this morning, I was really happy for two reasons: the first being just what I described and the second being that I actually didn’t have dairy and it was all a bad dream.
And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
Have a great Thursday!