Friday, March 18, 2011

some (more) thoughts on bilingualism....

Anybody who speaks two or more languages knows that bilingualism (or multilingualism) is a continuum. What does it mean to be fluent in another language? Does it mean you can carry on a conversation, or read, or interpret, or write in that language? If so, do you have to be able to converse about technical/scientific/legal/medical things, or is it okay if you only can get by in common speech? And what does it mean to be bilingual? Do you have to be equally comfortable in both languages to be truly bilingual? Different people have different definitions of the terms bilingual and fluent. For me, I know that I'm always learning, and that there's always a whole lot more that I can learn when it comes to my own bilingualism/fluency in Spanish. I can read, write, and speak Spanish, in a variety of subjects including a lot of technical/scientific/legal/medical terms. I can interpret for people, regardless of the speed and accent they use in Spanish. I can listen to and understand the TV and newspaper, I can write articles and papers in Spanish. I can read and understand technical works in Spanish. I can teach in Spanish, in a variety of subjects. Still, I "prefer" English in the same way that I prefer my left hand over my right hand. Although I could put the Spanish language track on in movies and listen to them dubbed in Spanish, and I could understand the movie that way, I wouldn't usually make that choice unless there were some other reason (extra practice, everyone else watching doesn't speak English, etc.). Similarly, I choose to read books almost exclusively in English.

I recently read THIS article that talks about these types of interesting bilingual things when it comes to thoughts and dreams.

One of the things that the article talks about is "what language do you think in?" I would say that I think mostly in English. However, when I'm talking with Elias or otherwise heavily immersed in Spanish, I think in both English and Spanish. This is fairly obvious when Elias and I are writing grocery lists. You should see my grocery lists. They are a hot mess of English and Spanish. The list usually looks like this

Leche de soya
cheddar cheese
artichokes in a can

You get the idea.

The article also talks about dreams. What language do you dream in? I would say that 80-90% of my dreams are entirely in English. (When I'm in the US... when visiting Colombia or another Spanish speaking country, that percentage goes down to maybe 50%). I have funny stories about dreaming in Spanish, though. Very rarely in my dreams am I actually speaking Spanish. Usually it's people who I know in Spanish speaking Spanish (Elias, for example.) I've also had dreams where people I know who don't speak Spanish in real life (my mom, for example) who are speaking fluent Spanish. Weird!

Another strange example from this week:
I've been having lots of nightmares and unpleasant dreams in the past 6 weeks or so. I think it has to do with stress and life changes, but Elias has been either waking me up when I start doing what he calls the "bad dream breathing," or I've been waking HIM up when I start shouting or thrashing about in the middle of a nightmare. A couple of days ago I was in the middle of a HORRIBLE nightmare involving Elias and I getting held hostage in Colombia. Everyone in the dream was speaking English (funny since we were allegedly in Colombia, but whatever). All of a sudden I realized that it was not real. So in my dream I started saying (in Spanish) just start shouting "pesadilla" (means nightmare) and Elias will wake up and help you. So in the dream I started shouting PESADILLA PESADILLA! All of the people in the dream didn't understand. As it turns out, though, I was actually shouting pesadilla and Elias did wake up and helped me out.

Cool, eh?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Being Strong...

A couple of months before I found out I was pregnant, I started taking Zumba classes. I love Zumba! It was such a wonderful workout and so much fun. After the pregnancy, I went to Zumba a couple of times, but then, as previously discussed, I turned into the pregnant diva lady who didn't want to do anything except eat hash browns, cry on the couch, and sleep. WOE TO ME! I would cry. Zumba went right out the window, as did practically everything else. I started feeling better in about the fourth month of pregnancy. Annoyingly for me, this was right about the time that all the books and "who asked you?" advice people told me that I would feel better too. Incidentally, there is nothing more annoying than feeling like absolute and total crap and having someone say "heee heee, you're going to be feeling just great in a few weeks." OH YEAH I wanted to scream. WELL I DON'T FEEL THAT GOOD RIGHT NOW, SO BUGGER OFF. (I don't really say bugger off, nor do I actually even think it, but it sounds insulting enough, eh?)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, feeling better. I started to feel better, but I wasn't anxious to put Zumba back on the menu. I know that many people run and jog and do all sorts of high impact stuff during pregnancy... it just didn't seem like something I wanted to do. All of that jostling around... So I went back to yoga I am relatively new to yoga, but I really enjoy it. I took a prenatal class at the hospital and some classes at churches (both mine and another, taught by a member of my church). I'm not "great" at yoga, but that's the wonderful thing about yoga... it's an individual practice. You do what you can, when you can, and if you're doing the best you can do and breathing those yoga breaths, you're doing great. I signed up for a free week trial at the yoga shelter in town. I love that it's called the yoga shelter, because it really does feel like shelter, to me. After my week's up, I have the option of doing a 2 month trial at a reduced rate. I'm going to go for it, because two months will take me up to the very last month of pregnancy.

I'm not sure what my point is here, other than to record how gosh darn proud of myself I am for being strong, doing something good for my health, and kicking some butt in yoga. It ain't easy, but it's good for me. :)

Yay for being strong...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lenten Spiritual Practice... Found!

So... I guess when you're back to blogging, you're really back to blogging. That's all I'm going to say about that. Marie reminds me that blogging about blogging is the most boringest thing ever.

Yesterday I talked about feeling sort of floundering when it comes to finding my own Lenten practice. It can't really be to commit to going to the communion services every week (done) or going to small group every week (done) or doing a Bible study every week (done) or attending a contemplative prayer service (done) or catching up on scripture readings (done) or having a special prayer time (done). I already do all of those things. Believe me I'm not saying that to toot my spiritual horn. In fact, quite the opposite. The very fact that I do do (doo doo, ha) all those things further complicates the quest for a spiritual practice. I do all of that stuff already because it's my job. Yes, I love my job, but it's still my job. It's hardly a discipline that refreshes and renews and restores. So for me, I need a practice this lent that will take me to a new place, a quiet place... a place where I get to be the observer and the follower, not the leader. Last night I figured out I've been there for about a week. That place is Mitford.

See, last Sunday I started to read the Mitford Series. The Mitford Series is a series about a small town preacher, Father Tim, and the adventures in his little town. The author, Jan Karon, is so descriptive in her writing that you can smell the apple pie baking. There's even little line drawings of the town so you can see where the diner is in relation to the tiny chapel. I love these books, because they take me away. They are spiritual for me in that Father Tim is an excellent minister. He's humble and kind. He quotes scripture. He has a dog named Barnabas. For the past week, I've been travelling to Mitford in my spare time. While I'm waiting for my tacos I read about Dooley and his endeavour to earn a new red bicycle. As I'm drifting off to sleep, I get caught up in the story of Cynthia, and I wonder if she's going to get that heart transplant after all. While I'm waiting for a breakfast meeting to begin, I wonder who ate Father Tim's lunch from the church refrigerator, and I wonder if it's the same person that ate that angel food cake a couple of weeks ago. It's a perfect, perfect place for this pastor to go this lent. It occurred to me last night, as I was reading, that this is my spiritual practice for lent. I've already been doing it for a week, it has all of the components of a spiritual discipline. Reading these books refreshes me and deepens my faith, and I have to make a conscious effort to dedicate some time to it. Also, it is enjoyable which is, for me, a prerequisite of a healthy spiritual practice. Why practice something you hate?)

So, this Lent, in addition to all of those Lenten practices I will be doing, I will be reading the Mitford Series. I'll give a report at the end of Lent.

How about you?

Friday, March 11, 2011

HAHA! Back on the glasses...

Ok... true story, I've been away from this blog for so long I seriously forgot I had it. I was reading a post by Mihee and I thought "ya know... I should start up a blog that's not for cooking and not really for work/theological discussion but is sort of a place where I can talk about whatever I want to talk about, funny stories, etc." (Do I say etc. in my own mind? I don't know. I digress.) Anyway, I was thinking that today and then later I checked into my twitter account (something I also don't do very often.) I realized "Oh yeah I actually already have a blog like that." Who knew. So here I am, back to the glasses, easy as pie.

Of course, after being away from this blog for so long, I am faced with the "what the hey monsters should I write about" dilemma. I feel significantly less pressure on this front knowing that a. the people who read this blog probably also follow me on facebook and b. nobody's being forced to read this thing. Still... what to talk about. I'm gonna have to go hodgepodge list here, people. It's the only way.

1. Tsunami in Japan. This morning one of the first pieces of conversation between Elias and I was the 2(ish) inches of snow that was blanketing our car. The same sort of pretty white snow blanket that 3 months ago would have been charming and wonderful. This morning we were annoyed by it. WHAT? SNOW?! ARGH. They said it was supposed to be a dusting. This is NOT A DUSTING BECAUSE IT REQUIRES AN ACTUAL SHOVEL. But before I went outside to work on it, I turned on the usual morning facebook/blog/news update. Suddenly the snow seemed like, well, no big deal. Isn't that how it always is? Perspective. Perspective. The images
are overwhelming. Prayers for Japan. Prayers for all of us.

2. Lent. As a pastor, I am constantly encouraging my congregation to take on a spiritual practice during lent. Whether it be attending weekly mid-week communion services at 7:30 a.m. or joining a discussion group, or attending a special service. Since Elias is now working in a church he's doing a special Bible Study on Friday nights as well (in Spanish). I wonder what it all means for me, though. For me, I'm leading these discussion groups, or helping Elias to plan his, or thinking of a meditation for the communion service. They're part of my vocation, my profession. While they're certainly beneficial to me, spiritually, they don't feel like something that I chose to do as a personal commitment to my faith. They seem like, well, my job. I'm a few days in to lent, and I still haven't picked something I want to do, for me, during lent. More on this later, I hope.

3. Baby. Obviously a huge change since I abandoned this blog is that I started growing a baby. Seriously. No lie. This is the truth. Crazy. The first three months of being pregnant, I was the worst pregnant lady ever. I'm not kidding. I was melodramatic, and puking ALL THE TIME. I was complaining and crying and eating only hash browns. I was not handling the whole thing well, at all. No joke, I would go to work (eating only 5 or so foods on my approved list) go home and cry and then sleep. Every single day. Then I started to get better, and now I'm one of the happiest pregnant ladies ever. I feel great, have lots of energy and am having a blast feeling the baby move around. It's getting big enough that I can feel actual arms and legs and a head and butt in there. It's kind of creepy, but also very cool. I heard (and have read) that in the very end of pregnancy sometimes people feel really large and uncomfortable, so I am prepared to return to my worst pregnant lady ever stage. Now that i'm back on the blog, you can read about it. Save your enthusiasm.

I guess that's good for now. It's fun to be back on the glasses.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

words or phrases i taught my husband today. the "aint that the truth" version.

"honey-do list"

the list included:

- go to store and pick up chamomile tea and toothpaste
- pick up prescription
- return videos
- wash dishes
- sharpen knives

sounds demanding, but have you SEEN some of the other "honey do lists" out there? sheesh. i think this one is do-able. plus, elias seems to like the concept of the "honey do" list. what with all of its order and sense of accomplishment and all...

also, i've been making dinner like the perfect fifties housewife recently. another post on gender roles and feminism is coming on. also a few recipes as well.


Monday, August 17, 2009

I know it's been a long time since I've posted on here

Mainly because I'm overwhelmed with stuff to write about.
I did have to post this quote, though, because I believe it to be absolutely true.

I don't care how low they drive support for this with misinformation. The minute the president signs this bill, his approval will go up. Within a year, when the good things begin to happen, and the bad things they're saying will happen don't happen, approval will explode." - Bill Clinton

Sunday, July 26, 2009

on the surface

on the surface, this is a happy-go-lucky love song that is
syrupy sweet. TOO sweet. it's like that one time
paula deen made a breakfast sandwich with TWO DONUTS
instead of bread

but there's something to this song "lucky"
and i'll tell you what it is.
first you should know (if you don't already)
that i rewind songs, and play them on repeat if
i like them. i've been known to listen to one song for HOURS if i
really like it. as if that wasn't weird enough, i also have been known
to simply rewind portions of songs that i like and listen to the
song segments on repeat.

this song has one of those portions.
you can find it from 1:08-1:28 in the video below...

i like it so much for a few reasons
first, musically... it's in a minor key
and is a very sad sentiment in the middle of
a very happy song.
i think i've talked about this before.
i love happy lyrics in minor keys
and sad lyrics in major keys
these are sad lyrics in a minor key, so they
shouldn't count, but the song is mostly happy
lyrics in minor key - so i still appreciate the contradiction.
second, the lyrics... remind me so much of how i felt when
elias was in colombia and i was here.

they don't know how long it takes
waiting for a love like this
everytime we say goodbye
i wish we had one more kiss
i'll wait for you i promise you
i will.

enjoy. (the whole song, but particularly my favorite part :)
also ignore colbie caillat's irritating swaying around