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I've never been one for idolising people. After all, we're ALL only human whether you are David Beckham or Stephen Hawking. I guess the reason that I've never really idolised or admired anyone is because I've never REALLY strived to do anything much in the past, other than be a good person and be good at what I do. An over-privileged spotty yoof on TV who thinks that an average singing voice is the passport to an easy future does little to inspire and earn the respect of this cynical individual.
Thanks to Gaelic, I now have an idol. In fact, I have many idols. For a start, I look up in awe to absolutely anybody that is fluent in Gaelic.
However, top of the tree in my eyes are those who have reached fluency as adult learners. Topping even these awe-inspiring people are the non-Scottish folks who have managed it.
The man I most idolise, and whose shoes I am not fit to polish, is the BBC reporter Andreas Wolff. This German National learned Gaelic to such fluency that he is now a presenter for BBC Alba, the BBC's Gaelic language channel.
Just think about that for a minute. Imagine how amazingly good you have to be and how incredibly hard you have to work in order to acheive such an incredible feat. The man is, in my eyes, a God. Those who have had the pleasure of meeting him also inform me that despite his amazing skill and intellect, he's also a thoroughly decent and charming bloke. This man, Andreas Wolff, is my all-time idol. The Gaelic community is a small one and I am sure that our paths will cross in the future. I have no doubt that this man's presence will reduce me to a gibbering wreck.
Not far behind him is a fellow Englishman, Charles (Teàrleach) Quinell, another non-Scot who has also acheived fluency to the point of being able to present on BBC Alba.
Joy Dunlop and Àdamh O Broin are another two learners who have carved careers in Gaelic despite learning as adults (so I understand), and in their company I also feel completely unworthy. I've been privileged enough to meet both of them, and you'd be hard pushed to meet two more lovely, enthusiastic, charismatic, gifted, and charming people.
I am sure that there will be more people that I learn about along the way who have managed to lick this language to the point of being able to work with it and earn the respect of native Gaelic speakers. I'm not quite sure where my own Gaelic journey is going, but people like Andreas, Teàrleach, Joy, and Àdhamh provide the kind of inspiring role models that vacuuous mainstream media can only dream about. It's yet another reason why I love Gaelic so.