14 January 2023

Welsh community at work?

For a long time, within the academic staff, only my colleague Dei and I spoke Welsh. The good thing is that our offices are only a few meters away from each other, so it is quite easy to pop into each other's office and have a chat.

Then, not a long time ago, we got a new Welsh-speaking member of staff: Iestyn. His main job is research, so professionally I don't have much to do with him. And he is also, strangely enough, a freshwater scientist! That doesn't go very well together with my lovely foraminifera. But he got an office in my corridor. That was good! I sometimes pop in for a chat. I had also been trying to get him to join us for lunch, but so far with little success. Sometimes one of my colleagues was a bit more successful and dragged him to coffee, and then he would ask me to join as well. However; that colleague is now on sick leave and might be gone for a while. I am redoubling my efforts!

And then, the long-anticipated lady who was especially hired to do Welsh language teaching in marine biology arrived. Iestyn confessed he was looking forward to that! And he also said she would get an office in that same corridor, where all three Welsh speakers already were. That would be cool!

I could really imagine that we would get some Welsh language critical mass that way. And I looked forward to that! My Welsh is never going to improve unless I use it more. And if I can actually use it in a professional context more that would be fab!

Then the day came she appeared. The Head of School brought her into the corridor. And I thought what Iestyn had predicted would happen. But then it didn't! I don't think she dislikes us, but she just liked an office one floor lower better so she chose that. It is still really close!

As I publish this, she has only been in the job for a week, and during that week all of us have at least worked one day at home, so there hasn't yet been that much interaction. But I think that will change and I look forward to it!

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