At the Parti, Aran talked about the road we are all on as we journey step by step towards becoming fluent Welsh speakers. However there is more to it than that because, as he mentioned, every time we say something, anything, in Welsh we help inspire others to try, and ultimately this ripple effect will transform Wales into a truly bilingual country.
Friends, there is even more to it than that… For those of us who are part of the diaspora—living outside Wales, there is a sense of longing that this ‘connection’ meets—a deep-seated longing to belong no matter how far away or how far back those connections span. For some it is within living memory, for others its rather vague, or even a new discovery from DNA testing. Some of us living in the border counties are able to pop over for an afternoon or meetup. Those of us in one of the big cities like London, can just hop on a bus or train, or take a trip along the motorway, and maybe enjoy a nearby meetup. For others of us living much further away, coming to Wales maybe a once in a lifetime adventure. Whoever we are, wherever we are, we are connected by bonds of friendship that can break down the barriers so many experience for all kinds of reasons.
I was lucky enough to journey from Vancouver for the Parti, but was amazed to see how many folk knew one another from Bootcamps, or conversations online via Slack or Skype—clearly deep friendships are forged this way, so that is one of the steps (the latter at least) that I still need to take. I have dipped a toe in the water, but no more excuses, I will take that leap of faith—this month, that’s my next goal, (a bit of a challenge, but with some more help will manage it). What’s yours?
Tolkien fans will know the lines ‘The road goes forever on, out of the door where it began,… and I will follow if I can’.
Whether or not you were able to be at this Parti, you are part of this adventure the moment to take that first step. Treat this weekend as a milestone moment anyway, and whether you just want to enjoy a traveller’s rest (like me relaxing in Caernarfon for the day before heading to St. Nicholas in Glamorgan then back to Vancouver), or a welcome chance to put some miles behind you on the road, literally or figuratively maybe tackling another Challenge or fitting in another 6 mins… we are all on the road together—all pilgrims on an incredible journey.
Go for it! Enjoy it!
Mari—the happy pilgrim