If any of you blog readers out there have been praying for an extra dose of humility in your lives but haven't been entirely sure how exactly the Lord might work that out in you, I have some suggestions for you. These are all things I have learned over the past 7 years as I have attempted the monumental task of learning not one but two foreign languages as an adult. Here are my suggestions, take them or leave them...
1.Attempt to learn the beautiful French language while living in Paris. For the most part, they will not be helpful, they will not be nice, and your ego will be smashed on a daily basis. (but, hey, at least you are living in beautiful Paris, so try not to take it for granted even while lugging your own personal "18 wheeler" (the term we began using for our double stroller carrying an almost 4 and very hefty 2 year old in) around the Paris subways which conveniently have no elevators or escalators).
2. Attempt to learn the beautiful French language while living in Paris while married to an MK who learned to speak French as a child. Quickly inform your sweetheart that he is not to participate in ANY WAY in the correction of your French pronunciation that can't help but have an endearing southern twang.
3. Come to think of it, let's give this one it's own category- Marry an MK and then attempt to learn any foreign language alongside him or her. I guarantee they will beat you hand's down. For many of you that may not be a lesson in humility, but for this competitive girl it is a constant kick in the teeth (smile, I love you honey....)
4. Put your very young children in a preschool or elementary school where they will begin learning the language that you are attempting to learn. (this is again a kicker for those with a competitive spirit). Not only will they far surpass you in their ability to learn the language, but they may even begin ducking their heads in embarrassment when you open your mouth to speak.
5. Attempt to learn Arabic in Beirut after learning (I use that term loosely) French. Quite a change from Paris. They WILL be nice to you, they will love you, they will think you are a genious because you said, "hello, how are you" in Arabic, then they will proceed to want to speak to you only in English.
6. While married to an MK who is a language phenom, walk around your neighborhood and let everyone tell you what a genious your husband is and how well he speaks Arabic. Silently wonder if anyone will ever notice your somewhat pitiful though very genuine efforts to also grasp said language.
7. (this is a doozy for anyone wanting a dose of humility from all fronts at once) Take Arabic lessons from a beautiful Lebanese girl. Be prepared to answer the following questions: "Why does your hair look like that?" "Do you mean for it to be that color?" "Have you thought about changing your hair color?" "Did you want to do your make-up like that today?" "Why don't you speak better in Arabic?" "Who taught you the alphabet in Arabic?" "Do you know that you can't pronounce anything correctly?" "Do you like the way those shoes look on you?" "You look fat in that outfit, have you gained weight?" "You need to get your eyebrows done, have you thought about getting a facial?" "Have you considered changing hair stylists?" (in the midst of all these questions remind yourself that this is someone you are praying for, keep your cool and continue to attempt to speak in the language that apparently no one can understand coming out of your mouth)
8. Quit Arabic classes for over a year and begin again.
9. Start Arabic classes again with a dear friend who is just a tad bit better than you. Listen to all of her sentences be given a "bravo" while every word out of your mouth is corrected to the point that you can't remember what your sentence was going to be in the first place.
10. Praise God for the daily reminder of how much I need His strength for all things!
My Alma Mater
12 hours ago