So, this week in our classes we've been learning how to learn our language. We've learned a little bit so far (count to ten, ask "how much?", tell our auto driver to turn right, left, stop, and how to buy ice cream) An example of ways to learn a language is asking "dumb-smart" questions, which are questions you already know the answer to, but it helps with language practice. For instance, we went to our ice cream vendor on the corner, and bought some ice cream. As he's counting out the change to give me, I asked him, "Do you have change?" He looked at me so funny when as he handed me the change!
Anyway, they teach us to study 6 hours a day; 1.5-2 hours is learning from our language helper, 3 hours is studying on our own what we learned, and 1-1.5 hours is getting out in the community to practice. (and ask dumb questions!) So this morning we actually got to sit with a language helper for an hour and a half! It's so cool - I learned how to say several items, like book, pen, paper, etc. Also, they had us a learn a 'monologue' to practice out in the community today. I learned how to say: "Hello. My name is [Name]. I am from America. I am learning [Language]." So the object is to go up to people and tell them this, and maybe even point to items and count to ten. I know, it takes a lot of guts, but have I ever really been known to be shy? Plus, these people LOVE foreigners! Just today, we were in an auto, and this Accord-type car pulls up (with 8 people in it!) and my husband nudges me and says, Those girls are looking at you. Tell them hello. (there is a hand motion with hello, so they can tell that's what I'm saying) So I did, and of course they all smiled REALLY big and did it back, and then the men in the car tried to get my husband's attention, and he told them hello as well. They were rolling down their window to talk to us when the light turned green and we took off. So see, these people will love the fact that us crazy fools are counting to ten with them.
They also told us that once we do our monologue, a lot of times, people will rattle off a ton of the language to us, and that's when we say again, "I am learning [language]. Goodbye." haha I can't wait to get out and practice!
We had lunch with our supervisors today. They are such a nice couple, with tons of experience in our work. The husband is taking us to our town on Saturday, and Sunday we are going to go to a national office! Or at least we think it's national. It's where a cousin coworker (not with our company) and his American wife go, and since they have a little contact with our supervisors, they invited us to join them. It's so weird to think that by Tuesday, my husband and I will be alone, although we have the reassurance that our boss will always be with us. We've been with people guiding our way for the past 13 weeks, and now it's time for us to take the lead. We are hoping that much money will be sent ahead of us for many things: safe travel, apartment hunting, great neighbors, easy setup of our home (we've heard some nightmare stories already about how slow it takes to get furniture, appliances, and all that), and being able to find language helpers and national partners easily. I know our boss takes great care of us, and has these past weeks, so I'm not as anxious or nervous about it as I would be otherwise. More than anything, I'm just so excited!! We've been looking toward this day for I don't know how many weeks now. It's almost here!
Well, I need to get back to language study. We learned the alphabet today (it's not Roman, it's Devanagri or something like that) and even though it looks so pretty, it's going to be tough. But today was so relieving to have one of those, "Aha!" moments, where it clicked. We can finally see how it works, and after practice, we'll be able to read and write. I never thought that would be possible! (come on, silly, with the boss all things are possible! even weird languages!)
Back to school, back to school...