Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hola! Si! Yup… I'm going to learn Spanish!

Taking a break from my reflections on feelings from the summer, I am writing on a current topic and using this space to record a new personal goal.

I want to learn Spanish.

Some of the back-story: I learned French in high school and college… if by "learn" I mean I can say 2-3 sentences and recognize maybe 4-5 more.  I was frustrated with French, but having taken it in high school, I could skip the first level class and meet my degree requirements sooner --- which of course at the time meant I could go to South Asia faster.  And that was my #1 priority then.

Side note, when I was in college, I did actually try to find a school within driving distance where I could study a South Asian language in college, but that never worked out - there was no school close enough that offered the language I wanted to take.

So, French it would be for college.

I never really even considered Spanish.  Although, I did have a spark of an idea when I returned from South Asia the first time, and can probably find the email to prove it.  I remember writing to my mom something along the lines of: "Okay, while I'm on home on my mini-furlough before starting the speaking tour in a month or so, I'm gonna learn Spanish and do a Spanish story-set for the mushroom farmers in our area."

That never happened.  That was almost 10 years ago.

This past summer, while I was in South Asia, I watched my Wycliffe Discovery team learn the local language - starting with basic vocabulary, and adjectives and a few verbs.  I remembered the joy it is to learn another language - especially when you live in that context where the language is spoken.

More than that, I remembered the depth to which one can go by speaking someone's heart language - even if you don't know all the right words.  Just speaking a few words in someone's mother tongue can be catalyst for building strong relationships!

I thought about where I live in Florida, my city, and my neighborhood. From my next-door neighbors to multiple grocery stores, restaurants, and road signs, Spanish is the language that is spoken and represented.

So, in an effort to be "all there" (Jim Elliot quote) in my community where almost 50% of the people speak Spanish, I have decided to learn to communicate with those around me, in the language they know best!

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