One of my favourite things about myself is that I’m fluent in more than one language.
I can slip seamlessly from Dhivehi to English, switching between the two with such ease that sometimes I don’t even realise I’ve done it.
‘Aslutha?’ rests as comfortably on my tongue as ‘Really?’
Words like ‘dhoni’ and ‘kaashi’ and ‘moodhu’—words that, to me, feel distinctly Maldivian—never fail to make me feel just a little bit more at home.
I revel in the convenience of finding the perfect term in English for a experience I can’t quite capture in Dhivehi.
I feel my chest bloom with pride whenever I do exceptionally well in English at school, because I did so well, and this isn’t even my native language.
I feel so proud, and so grateful, because often, I consider my skill at English a privilege, too.
I stroll along this road of bilingualism with ease, with comfort.
More often than I’d like to admit—
I stumble with my words, and Dhivehi sits foreign on my tongue.
I find myself flustered and ashamed when I can’t remember the word in Dhivehi for something as simple as mathematical multiplication (‘gunakurun’).
My mother tongue.
The one I was supposed to be born with.
And I feel I do not do it justice.