Wie geht’s? (How are you?)

Today we reviewed the things we’ve learned so far in German, and then learned how to order drinks. We learned this because it is a practical way to have initial conversations with people of a target language. The expressions that we have learned so far would allow us to interact with people in a basic way, and that is the goal. Language learning is a social activity so it is important to instantly begin learning common phrases that can be used in social settings. I think the way that we have been learning in class is really useful. We have only spent 20 minutes a day for 3 days currently, and I have learned quite a bit for such a short amount of time. I definitely know far more than I would if I had taken a class for only 20 minutes each day. I would already be able to engage in a basic conversation with someone in German! That doesn’t mean that schooling is bad, because formal lessons in grammar are important. But it just means that grammar should not be the main focus initially. Getting out, learning the language, and making relationships with native speakers should be the focus initially.

Charles H. Kraft says, “Indeed, if we do no more than engage in the process of language learning we will have communicated more of the essentials of the Gospel than if we devote ourselves to any other task I can think of.” In language learning we have the opportunity to humble ourselves, build relationships, build trust, be vulnerable with people, show that we care about people, be willing to do life with people, etc.

Much love, B

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Sehr gut (very good)

Today was a really good day with my language learning class. My brain is quickly retraining itself to learn things through listening, and I was able to remember everything we learned yesterday. I did not feel frustrated or embarrassed today. I actually felt pretty good about my German today. It’s definitely shaky, but I am learning and that is what matters.

We have been doing readings to go along with our class and it has been causing me to rethink how we learn languages. One of our readings says, “Normal language acquisition is a social activity, not an academic activity.” Think about how children learn their native language initially. They do not acquire it by formal schooling, but rather they acquire it through social interactions, listening, repetition, conversations with people, people modeling it for them, etc. I mean think how silly it would be to teach your two year old the usage rules or grammar rules of your language. You would be wasting your time. So why do we often start with that when teaching language to adults? I like the idea of having social interactions form the foundation of your knowledge. Talking with people, building relationships, learning vocabulary on the street…that is useful. Then you throw in the grammar concepts and more vocabulary once you have that foundation. I like this new style of teaching, and I can definitely see the benefits when living abroad.

Much love, B

A new way of learning

Today we started our language acquisition class, and overall it was really good. I can tell that I am going to enjoy this class, even if I do get a little frustrated sometimes. Our class today started off with our teacher speaking only in German to us, and then modeling certain phrases/questions that he wanted for us to repeat. He built on knowledge that we had to help us with what we did not know yet. He started talking and said something that concluded with his name. As a result, we all knew that the phrase he used was, “I am Neil.” Then he asked a question that we could guess was, “What is your name?” We all went around and practiced. Then he said a phrase that ended with England. We could gain that he was probably talking about where he was from. He asked us the same question and modeled for us how we should respond. Then we had to get up and practice what we had learned so far with one another.

Even though our teacher spoke only in German, we could gain what he was telling us by his expressions, hand motions, and modeling. The part that was frustrating for me was that I couldn’t retain what was being taught. I am used to writing things down and being able to visually see things. This helps me learn because that’s the way I grew up learning. So by having everything that’s said being auditory was really difficult. I couldn’t retain phrases that had literally just been said. Luckily, Neil repeated everything for us and helped us as needed, but it was still really frustrating for me because I typically pick up languages pretty quickly. I am going to have to get used to a different style of learning…one that involves retaining more information without writing it down. I have to retrain the way I learn. I can see the benefit of learning like this though. It automatically forces you to speak the language and be involved in communicating with other people. It allows you to have authentic conversations. Whereas we in America are often taught about a language in school, this is going to force us to actually LEARN a language.

Much love, B

Truth and love

I have a devotional book that I do by Paul David Tripp. The title for today is, “Theology without love is simply very bad theology.”

Here is a quote from it:

“Truth not spoken in love ceases to be true because it’s bent and twisted by other human agendas. I cannot forsake truth for relationships, and I cannot forsake relationships for truth. They need to be held together, because we need to understand truth in community with one another to compensate for our blindness and bias, and we need truth to define for us what kind of community we should live in together.”

Ephesians 4:15- “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

This is a great reminder that truth and love go together. Community is about seeking truth together, but it is also about the relationships between one another.

Much love, B

A little sparkle

I have this saying that came from my agenda from last year that I think matches my personality pretty well so I held on to it.

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I like to think that I leave a little sparkle wherever I go. I hope that my happiness, laughter, and smile impact people that I come in contact with. I hope that I am able to leave a little bit of my sparkle with them. I know there are instances where this is the case. I will drive through a toll booth or be at the grocery store and someone will tell me that I just made their day. It could be something as simple as a genuine smile at someone, but that’s all it takes. So I know that I have left a little sparkle for some people. But I hope that every day, in every instant, I am reminded of this. I want to make the most of the opportunities I have to make someone’s day. In my mind, I picture me leaving a little sparkle everywhere I go like Tinkerbell 🙂

Much love, B

Laughter is important

Probably one of my favorite quotes is a simple one by Charlie Chaplin.

He says this… “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

There are plenty of things throughout the day that can be frustrating or that can try to steal your joy. But it’s important each day to laugh and have a good time. There’s a time to be serious and a time to just laugh. Laughter is good for the soul. I personally laugh a lot, and often times I laugh about absolutely nothing. Don’t ask me why I do this because I have no idea. I can laugh until I make myself cry over something that other people don’t find funny at all. I laugh at myself all the time too. It’s good not to take life too seriously sometimes, and I 100% agree with Charlie Chaplin that if you don’t laugh at all in your day, then you just wasted it. So….laugh a little today 🙂

Much love, B

James 3: 9-12

I read these verses the other day, and it caught my attention because of the boldness of these words.

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

This challenges me to think about the way I am speaking throughout my day. I should not be praising God one moment, and then turn around and snap at someone or say something unkind later on. This verse says that praises and cursing cannot come out of the same place, just like fresh water and salt water cannot come from the same spring. That is such a bold proclamation, and something that I definitely struggle with. How different would my life look, and how much more would I impact the lives of others if I only allowed blessings to come from my mouth? Now, this is not something that I can do by myself because I make a lot of mistakes every day. I mean people can really annoy or irritate me sometimes. So I have to pray for the Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf and to help me with this!

Much love, B

Sick Again

This winter has not been kind to me, and I am getting sick more frequently then I ever have. I was a teacher last year and rarely got sick, but this year when I am no longer around kids 24/7 I have been sick about once a month. Clearly they were keeping my immune system strong. What is super annoying is that I have been coming down with the same thing over and over again. I have no idea how to prevent it from coming back. I’m sure everyone feels this way, but it is really inconvenient to be sick. I have so many things that I have to do and no time for all of this. Let’s hope that I am healthy again ASAP!

Much love, B