I am not a “professional” at language acquisition, neither do I have the “language learning gene”. I struggle along in the language I am learning, making many mistakes as I go. But I believe that this is the way we learn languages, by speaking with mistakes and listening with misunderstandings. I believe that learning a language is not in the number of months I have had in language school, but in the number of hours I am spending speaking and listening in the language (this would include language school but certainly not limited to it). This is the last post of this blog series on language learning (at least the last for now). In past posts, we have shared with you the different ways that we, as a family, are learning Spanish. The bottom line is that we look for opportunities to speak, listen to, read, and occasionally write in Spanish. The opportunities that Leslie and I have are different from the opportunities that others have, but I believe that we all have opportunities to learn another language. So what else are we doing? In short, we are always looking for more opportunities to converse in Spanish. I leave you with one of our latest opportunities…
I went into the “Peluqueria” for the first time in May (a “Peluqueria” is a barbershop). It is a one-man operation. The owner is the same man who cuts the hair. As I sat down in the barber chair, the man asked me, “So where are you from? Why are you here?, etc.” (These are the same questions we are asked everywhere by anyone we speak to for the first time). All of this was done in Spanish. I told him about why we are here and told him I am currently learning Spanish. He responded quickly with “You haven’t learned much, have you?” (how about that for blunt honesty?). We spoke for a while. He is an Atheist. He loves politics and is very conservative politically. He grew up in La Plata, just a few blocks from the Peluqueria. Since that first time, I have been back to his shop a few times. We talk more and more. He wants to talk about politics and I would rather talk about virtually anything else I can think of, but we converse back and forth. At the end of the hair cut, I pay him and ask him if I can come by some time and talk with him, practicing my Spanish. He corrected my Spanish all through the hair cuts and that is something I look for. He told me he really enjoyed correcting me (I found that funny) and that I could come talk with him anytime. I don’t know when or how I am going to “fit this in” to my schedule that is already loaded down. Even so, I see a great opportunity to speak, listen, and learn and even a greater opportunity to share the truth of Jesus. I like the guy. He is blunt and doesn’t think he needs God and/or Jesus. That sounds like me before I was saved. This is yet another opportunity God has placed before me. For a Christian, language learning is much more than learning a language, it is the opportunity t0 share what Jesus has done in us!
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