Dysgu Cymraeg and the Llŷn Peninsula

I really love living in North Wales. It’s a beautiful place.

The week before last I was lucky enough to be able to go away to attend a week-long Welsh course on the Llŷn Peninsula. The Llŷn is really close and really beautiful, but I have only visited a couple of times in the nearly two years since we moved.

I stayed at a place called Nant Gwrtheyrn (roughly pronounced Nant Goor-thay-rn), on the north coast of the Llŷn, near the town and popular holiday destination of Nefyn. Nant Gwrtheyrn is a former quarrying village which, after being abandoned and falling into ruin, has been reclaimed and renovated as a holiday location, wedding venue and Welsh language school. They run courses that run from very first introductions to Welsh through to advanced courses for those fluent in spoken Welsh to practice written Welsh or learn about Welsh culture in Welsh.

Ever since we moved to Wales I have really wanted to start learning Welsh. Anglesey, where we live, has one of the highest percentages of Welsh speakers in the country (and the world) – our neighbours speak Welsh as do most people in our town and a large number of people I work with. I have never had a bad reaction to not being able to speak Welsh, but I have always felt that learning was the right thing to do, and would definitely be a helpful addition to my CV if (when?) I need to apply for a new job here.

The course was really enjoyable, I learnt a lot, gained confidence in speaking Welsh and also had great opportunity to relax in the fabulous location.

It was so peaceful and tranquil. On my first evening there I walked down to the beach and sat, listening to the sea and without seeing another person. After having felt so low and unhappy in recent weeks it was so nice to have some genuine down-time away from the rest of life (including digital life, with next to zero mobile phone signal) to rest and relax.

 A series of views from Nant Gwrtheyrn out across the Irish Sea

By the time my week on the course was over I didn’t really want to have to leave and get back to the real world. Hopefully, when Pete is back from working away, in September, we might be able to get away for a break somewhere on the Llŷn and try to find that genuine peace and quiet again.

If you’re interested in learning Welsh then I would absolutely recommend looking into courses at Nant Gwrtheyrn. If not, I would still definitely recommend you visit the Llŷn for a holiday – Wales isn’t always top of the list of holiday destination options, but that means a lot of people are missing out.

If you do speak or are learning Welsh I’d love to hear from you – I’m keen to find people I can practice on!

Oh yeah, for those who don’t speak Welsh, the tile of this post ‘Dysgu Cymraeg’, means ‘Learning Welsh’. Dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg – I am learning Welsh!

Hope you are well,




Impending Doom

In just under three weeks time I will be turning 30.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this.

At one level I’m really not that bothered. It’s just another year, another number. Nothing is going to fundamentally change in me or my life overnight – I will still be the same person, in the same world, living the same life.

And yet, the prospect of turning 30 has also churned up a lot of unpleasant thoughts and emotions in me.

In all honesty, I’ve been struggling with my mood for a while now, separate to all these pre-birthday apprehensions. I’ve seen a lot of my GP in recent months – my anxiety and stress was getting completely out of control and I was starting to disengage with things again. I changed the antidepressant medication I was taking, which (after the horrible side-effects of the change over period) seemed to make a real difference. But only for about 2 weeks. Now I feel as bad as ever, if not worse.

I am chronically sad. Painfully sad. And cripplingly lonely.

It’s these feelings that are really causing me issues with the upcoming 3-0. It’s not the number, it’s the occasion – what it should mean, what I wanted it to mean and what I wanted it to be. It should be a big deal, something to be celebrated, but I know it’s just going to be a disappointment.

As you may know, just under two years ago we packed up our lives in Southampton and moved to North Wales, where we now have jobs and our own home. The big problem with that is that everyone I knew and cared about now lives in the order of 300 miles away. It’s a long way that takes a lot of time and money to travel over. As a result, I can’t afford to go to them for my birthday and they can’t afford to come to me.

And that absolutely crushes me.

I have, we have, met people here since we moved. Well, mostly Pete has met people and I have met them through him. They’re nice people and I like them, but I am also epically socially phobic – the prospect of spending time with people I don’t know well causes me the kind of anxiety that makes you hyperventilate and get actual physical chest pain. Just the thought of it is physically and mentally draining.

So I’m stuck in an awful Catch-22 of being horrifically lonely but also too goddamn afraid of people and social situations to be able to do anything to try and make a change in my situation.

It’s so ridiculous I could cry. In fact, I do cry.

I wanted my 30th birthday to be a big occasion, with everyone who was important to me. Now it’s probably just going to be me and my parents (I love my parents, but it’s not quite the same). Even Pete will be missing it as he’s working away all summer, again.

I am so lost and so, so unhappy. I can’t stand it, but I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to limit the amount I put up emotional status updates on Facebook or Twitter, as I know it is probably really annoying for the people who follow me, but I feel I have nowhere else to turn.

I’m sorry to put this all out there like this – but if I kept it inside I worry I might explode.