January 28, 2013

Cracking the Whip

I realized, yet again today, the value of learning.  I regretted, yet again today, that I wasn't a bit more focused in my high school years.  I wished, yet again today, that I had a dollar for every time I've said, "If I only knew then what I know now!"

Today, an older gentleman and his mother visited the prison, and I had the privilege of translating his testimony for the men there.  I generally prefer to be the person listening to Spanish and translating what I hear for those who only speak English.  But this time, the guy spoke in French and English, and I needed to translate that into the language of the prisoners listening.  How I wished I could have went straight into Guaraní, but my skills just aren't there yet.  It was tough enough without adding that extra step, but I sure hope to be able to do it one day.

Truth is, my Spanish is pretty ugly.  I do just fine at the grocery store, I chat with friends, I teach the Bible, and I can almost hold an entire conversation on a cell phone without major misunderstandings.  But I am well aware that being understood and being correct are two different things.  "You give food me, I pay money you."  Okay, you got that, but improvement is in order.  I'm not quite THAT bad, but who wants to sound like the foreigner in the group, right?

I guess it's time to put language learning back in the daily schedule.  I'd gotten to a "good enough" point, where other things took priority over advancing my language skills--you know, surgeries, learning to walk again, homeschooling, mopping, that sort of thing.

I figured if I was fluent enough to survive here, I was okay.  But since when is good enough really good enough?  Nah, I gotta get back on this thing.  After next week's surgery and the next week's start of the school year....   ;)

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