First of all, thank you so much for the kind words and well wishes. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the prayers and support you’ve offered both for my neighbors and for me. I can’t speak for anyone else involved, but I know that I am still working through it, and it may be a while before things go back to normal — or, rather, until we settle into a new normal. I appreciate you bearing with me as I navigate through all of this.
For those of you in the Austin area, on Monday (5/21) I have the honor of joining Professor Robert Koons as part of his apologetics series at St. Louis parish. The event starts at 7:00 PM and should involve some great discussions. Hope you can join us!
My seven-year-old son has surprised us by showing a huge interest in learning Chinese. I found a poster of Chinese characters on sale somewhere and put it up in our homeschool room. The act of tacking it to the wall represented about 99% of our homeschool language curriculum this year, but my son took the initiative to learn about this language, and more than once I found him studiously copying the characters and trying to memorize their meaning.
I’m going to run with this and have decided that his big summer learning project will be to pick up some Chinese. (When he will have the opportunity to practice it, I have no idea. Maybe I’ll talk Jen Ambrose into letting us Skype with her kids.) Anyway, I’m adamant that the only method I’ll use is Pimsleur. I’m a huge fan of their approach, for reasons I’ll elaborate on in a moment, but here’s a video that summarizes their philosophy:
(And let me add that I have no affiliation with them and was not asked to promote their product. Though if they want to send me a check or an Ikea gift card for plugging their product that would be fine.)
I used some Pimsleur tapes to pick up some Czech before a trip we took to the Czech Republic a long time ago, and that’s when I became convinced that it’s extremely important not to see a language written while you’re learning it. To interpret written words uses a different part of your brain than mimicking sounds and associating them with concepts, and I think it throws everything off when you combine the two. I only listened to those Czech tapes for two weeks back in 2002, and I still remember almost everything I learned. Which is really handy, since here in Texas I’m constantly needing to ask where the subway station is in Czech.
You know what’s frustrating? When you get all excited about learning a language before a trip so that you can converse with the locals…then realize that you learned the wrong *$&%! language. On that trip to the Czech Republic my husband and I spent about half our time in a town right next to the German border, and everyone spoke German. The owners of our inn didn’t even speak a word of any other language…which was problematic, since we didn’t know any German. (Well, I did know a couple of curse words, and the phrase “good luck, ” which would have made an odd combination.)
Anyway, that hot mess reached its apex the afternoon that we tried to explain to them that we had aired up the tires of their loaner bikes. You don’t realize how hard it is to pantomime riding a bicycle until you actually do it; same with using an air pump. We never were able to get across what we’d done, and I’m pretty sure the owners were left thinking that I told them, “I am a galloping horse who sometimes stops to pant while digging ditches.”
Does anyone know of a faith-based support group for mothers who have chronic illnesses? A close friend of mine has a condition that causes her to spend a lot of time feeling fatigued and/or in pain. It’s difficult enough in and of itself, but she reports that one of the hard parts is simply feeling alone in her struggles. I think it would be a boon to her spirits to know that there are other Christian moms going through the same thing. Any resources you could share would be very much appreciated.
I hope you all have a safe and blessed weekend. Thank you again for your support.