It has been a month since I’ve been here in Chiapas. Today I could say, “Entiendo poco, y me gusta…” at church. Understanding is slow, but it is coming! (I was worried after last week–thinking I would never get there!)
The thing is, I am learning a little every day. It is like a kid learning to speak. I look up the same words over and over until they stick. I can carry on a rough conversation. Understand that it is rough. I am sloowly getting there though!
These are five things that really help a lot:
It isn’t enough to just be present like I do in English. I have to really focus on the words that I hear people say. If they slow down and enunciate correctly, well, I have better luck. (I have to start wearing face cream. Between the sun and me contorting my face when people talk…)
I really try! I also try not to be embarrassed. I didn’t have to look up as many words today when I gave my testimony. The more I try out words and phrases the better I do! I also don’t shy away from ordering things, asking for things at the store, etc. It doesn’t usually help in the situation…
If I were to read for pleasure, I would be reading a child’s book. It is really helpful when we read aloud at church. I get to practice words, and the teacher in me discovered a word pattern that I have difficulties with. I can look less at the English translation now–and that is encouraging! It also helps me to see that they don’t have the exact words for some ideas. I’m also learning sentence structure–which is hard!
This is, by far, my favorite. I downloaded Spanish music. I started with this adorable kid at school who loves to dance. He knows all the popular music here. I listen to music on the Mexican MTV too. I listen to music on the bus. I translate the lyrics on my own and with Google translate. It’s awesome when I find out I am right…
5). I ask for help.
I have no shame. I know my kids laugh at me, but that’s okay. I laugh at them too. Today, I was trying to tell a lady that I had to go feed my friend’s cat, and I accidentally said I had to eat my friend’s cat. I am happy to admit that I caught my own mistake (even though I didn’t know how to fix it).
I’m waiting for it to all click! like when kids learn to read. I’ll keep you posted…
oh! P.S. I started taking garlic pills. Dad swears they ward off mosquitos. I’m unconvinced, but willing to try anything…