Last night was the first time I spent any substantial time with my in-laws in a few weeks. My sister-in-law, on the heels of completing six medical exams in two months, was leaving for Germany bright and early this morning, and it was my father-in-law's birthday, so we had a good-bye and birthday get together.
I decided to try, for once, to ask a question in Greek. The room fell silent. All eyes turned to me. I managed to squeak out my question to my sister-in-law "pou tha menis stin Germania;" (where will you stay in Germany?), and aside from a minor correction I got it right, received my reply, and felt that I had done my Greek duty for the night. Oh no. My husband and father-in-law retreated into the other room to try to fix their ailing computer. I was left alone with with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law, and my sister-in-law kept begging me to say something else in Greek. For 2 hours she begged me to say something else in Greek. And the discussion turned to why I haven't yet mastered the Greek language even though I've been here for 3 years. My MIL, very graciously, blamed it on my husband. But she made it clear that now that I am in Thessaloniki, in close proximity to them, I will be learning Greek. They are going to get me the Greek school books children use here to learn Greek. I will no longer be able to be shy when talking. I will no longer be allowed to answer questions asked me in Greek in English. My MIL is quite serious about my education. And when my MIL is serious about something, it gets done. I actually adore her, and admire her. I couldn't have been luckier when it comes to my in-laws (no, they don't read the blog, so I'm not sucking up).
I'm still thinking it will be at least another 3 years before I am using Greek with any fluency. We'll see. The will of my MIL is strong. And I'd like to make her happy for once.