Well, I have once again fallen behind in posts. We had a super busy weekend a couple Saturdays ago with our Day of the Americas celebration. I was outside pitching and decorating a tent, chasing kids, and watching the dances from all the different countries from about 7am to 4pm, so when I got home, I decided to take a nap without setting an alarm. I woke up at 9:15pm. Wow. So, yeah. That was a couple weekends ago. Plus, with all the preparations, I had fallen behind in my article writing job and ended up spending most of our Monday off working on those.
Last Saturday I went to a friend's birthday party. It was during that and stumbling through a couple of conversations with Spanish-speaking people that I finally realized that I need help with my Spanish. I've been learning a lot and have come far, but I'm really only learning a couple of new words every week, and I hardly ever actually speak to people other than with my kids. So, I've taken one of the other teachers up on her offer to teach me Spanish.
She's perfect to teach me, because she "yells" at me quite often to speak in Spanish, but is also VERY encouraging. She's been giving me lists of verbs to write out in the past tense, which is what I told her I'm having the most trouble with right now. This weekend, she has me writing out full sentences using present and past tenses of the 40+ verbs I've written out this week. It sucks having all this homework, but it's good for me for sure. :)
Last Thursday, we were talking after Bible study to determine who was going to do what for the following week. Tito asked Dona Elsa to give "the Word" (the main lesson, not just a few verses) who redirected him to me, and I smiled and agreed, thinking they were joking. I told them "it's just ONE word, right?" and thought nothing of it until Monday. On Monday, the sudden realization hit me that they didn't ask somebody else to give the Word after I had jokingly agreed to it. I realized they expected me to have something for them on Thursday.
So, on Tuesday night, I stayed up late writing out what I wanted to say. I decided to talk about tests and suffering. I wrote out 4 pages, though about half is Bible verses that I wanted to just have in front of me rather than having to look them up. I had Hellen check it for me to make sure it made sense, and she only found a couple of very minor mistakes, where I had the wrong last letter of a couple of words. One of them mattered a lot since it changed the word "silver" into "plate."
Even going into Bible study today, I was still not entirely sure if I was expected to give the Word, but I was prepared to do so. Sure enough, they were expecting me to have the lesson prepared. Because I had gone into it hoping for the best (not actually having to talk), when I knew I did have to talk, my nerves struck hard. I had practiced reading the whole thing out loud 3 times and most of what I wrote were my words, but I knew there were some words in there I had gotten from Google translate and the Bible, so I didn't know them well.
I like to stuff my talks with a lot of Bible verses, because I think it's important to be sharing God's words more than my words, and to be clear that everything I do say comes directly from God's Word. So, I had them read the Bible passages except for a couple of shorter ones that I did rather than taking the time to have everyone look them up. That way, I knew they would understand the verses, which were arranged to take everyone on a journey to explore this idea of tests and what to do about them and in them, and to look at why we have them.
So, it was a pretty good talk. I was super nervous at first, but as soon as I saw that they were taking notes and really listening, I was able to relax and just focus on reading and saying what I wanted to say, rather than being as worried about getting it all pronounced right and everything. I messed up a few times, especially on the words that I didn't know, but just corrected myself and kept on going. When I got to the important points and stressed them, there were "amens" from everyone, which was a real sign to me that they understood me.
I was super relieved when I was done and am still finding it a little hard to believe that I actually managed to do that. So, this was a really good experience for me to realize that I CAN speak Spanish and be understood. I CAN use complete sentences that make sense. That was further solidified for me when we were talking afterwards about losing things.
They asked me if I lose things often, and I said "siempre" (always). They laughed, and I then told them the story of when I lost my car/house keys. I always left them on the shelf by the door, and one day, I just couldn't find them. So, I used my spare keys for a while until I locked my keys in my car in front of the house while the car was running. Then, I had to do a thorough search of the entire house, and found them exactly where I always put them; they had just fallen onto the lower shelf. Surprising even myself, I managed to tell the whole story enough that they knew what I was talking about, though I know I didn't use a lot of the right verbs. It's still too hard to try to think of how to say what verb I need in the middle of talking. :)
So, good things are happening right now. And, I just realized I never posted my definite summer plans, so I'll end this blog now and get my summer plans put out there in another one, right now, so I don't forget again.
UPDATE: Tito and Cesia just came in, and congratulated me on sharing, so now I'm sure that I did well! :D