Confessions & Woes of a Language Student

  1. Sometimes I make flashcards of words I already know, just so that when I am study I can at least feel a little bit smart. You know boost the old self esteem a little.
  2.  Color coding flashcards works great if you actually have a plan. I did not. And mine are not. At least I am pretty sure they are not. They are pretty though.
  3. One day I stood in the store (with my language teacher) freaking out. Staring at the index cards.  They only came in packs of 25, “But I need enough for the whole language!” I love her, “Let’s start with the important words, like verbs and adjectives.” (I now have close to four hundred of ‘just the important words.’)
  4. Everyday is a new lesson. New words. New concepts. New dialogues. I study. I learn. I memorize. Then I go out. The people I talk to on the street know more than me. (Obviously.) They do not stick to my new words, my new concepts, and most importantly my new dialogues. I ask them, “Kumusta ka?” and instead of sticking to the normal response, “Maayo.” Seriously, I would happily take, “Okay lang.” or “Maayo kaayo.” But NO! They go off and say (in words I have not studied, with concepts I have not learned, and with dialogue that is totally lost on me) something about my learning Bisaya. Living in the Philippines. They say everything BUT what was on my learned script.  Sometimes I just want to shout, “STICK TO THE SCRIPT!” And then I realize this is real life, there is no script. It’s called conversation.
  5. I LOVE to talk. I could talk all day. I could talk about nothing. I could talk about everything. Seriously, people are fascinating. Ask questions and you never know what you will get. I miss talking. Sometimes, I sit surrounded by a language I barely understand, and a sentence forms on the tip of my tongue. I open my mouth, I start to speak…and then it registers in my brain that I do not actually speak this language yet. And my lovely sentence turns into one single lonely word. It is depressing. I miss talking in sentences.
  6. Even worse, is when I start to speak and I realize I know every word in the sentence, but the order is lost on me. And the affix, what affix should I use? And then when I choose the affix, what class of pronouns? First? Second? Third? I DON’T KNOW! By the time I get around to actually saying my sentence the conversation has turned to something completely different. Or worse I say it, and it evokes a confused look. A pitied look. A tortured look.  And with a sigh, I realize I just single handedly butchered the language once again. And even sadder, I know it will not be the last time either.
  7. Sometimes, I say things to people as I am passing by…just because I know the words, and well you know, the loving to talk thing. I have not yet learned to tell the difference in shock that a white girl just said something in my language and confusion and wondering what in the world that poor white girl thinks she just said.
  8. Learning a new language is like being a toddler again. I am relearning how to say EVERYTHING. I was complaining once to God about this, and wishing that life was easier. You know what? I may speak like a baby, but I am potty trained. And that is something to be thankful for. Sometimes, you have to look hard for things to be thankful for, you have to make it a discipline to even be happy. It is not always easy, and life is not always fair.  But the God that I serve, is worth the frustration.
He sent His son, His beloved Son, to live so that I might have life; and to die so that I might live with HIM. My God is worth the frustration of trying to be holy. He is worth any aggravation of learning a new language. He is worthy of my life lived for Him.

He is simply. Worthy.

I am so thankful for abundant life.  I do not live in shame or fear but in expectant hope. I have peace, and it is crazy but it is like a river.  It floods my heart.

Today I toil to learn a language. Because any small sacrifice that I can offer pales in comparison to the wonderful loving forgiveness that God is offering. 

Call upon His name. He is worthy. He is forgiving. And He offers not just life, but ABUNDANT life.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, first of all, I LOVE YOU!! Second, I literally laughed out loud and nodded my head as I read your blog. I can relate on so many things! I go through the words I already know like the back of my hand just so I can feel confident in myself...even if just a little bit. I found out today that I've said a word (palang) to I don't know how many people in my neighborhood this week, trying to communicate that I was going home. Come to find out, that word means bulletin board. Pulang is the correct word. Oh well! I guess my neighbors probly all think I'm obsessed with walking to bulletin boards! And I can definitely relate on finally thinking of something to say when they're like 3 topics ahead already. It's so defeating sometimes. But you're right, it's worth it! Thanks for sharing, friend. And thanks for reminding me to be thankful for the little things like being potty trained :)


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