Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Como se dice, DUH?

I have studied and studied and studied, my vocabulary is growing yet I still can't answer a simple question without my brain coming to a screeching halt. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm really ever going to have a real discussion in Spanish. Or if every time someone engages me in conversation my brains are going to fly out of my head and leave me looking like a mindless north American. Can you hear me sigh? I'm most assuredly sighing! Really, I'm fighting the tears.

Our lanuage teacher called today to clarify something and in Spanish she asked me what I was doing. And my brain went blank. I am not one to give up easily and don't have any intention of doing so where Spanish is concerned. But I sure would like to overcome this mental handicap I have...and soon! Since flashcards have worked to build my vocabulary I hope they will build my question and answer ability. After all I just made 126 different flashcards to help aide my memory!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Exceptions to the Rule

Did you know that Uruguayan Spanish is full of exceptions to the usual rules of Spanish? For the most part, at least what I understand right now, Spanish in any country has some general rules. Like English it has it's dialects, be it regionally, in the States for example, the North (Boston) and the South (Georgia), or in another country such as Canada or England. Uruguayan Spanish is defintely a dialect.

More than once our teacher has said, "Well, that's correct, but in the Rio region (Uruguay and Argentina) it is said like this ____" For example, except for the fact that it is found in the Bible, Vosotros is not used here. Instead, it is replaced by Ustedes. And if that's not confusing enough there is a dialect of Spanish/Portuguese along the border shared with Brazil.

The people here speak so quickly that even when they slow down they are still faster than what I can understand. Plus they tend to inhale all of their S sounds, Gracias sounds like Gracia and they often say only the ending of esta and hasta. So what you would hear is, "Mucho Gracia, ta bien, ta luego, chau." Archie on the otherhand is very clear in his speech and I can typically make a differentiation between his words. We are told that is because he is from Mexico. Of course there could be a little bit of national pride in that statement. :-)

Flashcards have been a great help in memorizing the multitude of vocabulary words, verbs and their basic conjugations (Yo, Tu, El/Ella, Usted, Nosotros, Ellos/Ellas, Ustedes). Even so I have a hard time remembering which ending goes with which person. And we haven't even tackled sentence structure. So with that said, I guess I better quit taking a break and hit the flashcards. Or I'm going to be speaking like a two year old robot for awhile.

And maybe one of these days Scott will make this truly "our" blog by writing a post! One can hope!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pray for Madi

This is my 5 year old, 2nd cousin, Madi. Many of you know she has been battling brain cancer for a year and a half. To everyone's joy she was sent home in November, cancer free.

I just received a heartbreaking email that the cancer has returned once again. She has had three brain surgeries, radiation, chemo, and stem cell transplants from her family. This cancer is so incredibly aggressive. The doctors have said there is nothing more they can do.

Perhaps that is true, but God is still the great physician. He is the Healer and if He wills He can heal Madi completely! Will you pray along with our family that God, if He wills, would heal Madi?
Please be in prayer for her parents, Matt and Val.
They found out just before the latest MRI results that Make a Wish foundation is sending the entire family to Disney World. This should be a special time for them.

This is a Scrapbook page that I made, last spring, in honor of Madi (on the left). She and Adeline got along so well when we visited our home town, Hemet, CA two years ago.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Tongue Twister Trials

Two months to the day of being in Uruguay marked our first day of language school. It was not without it's trials. Our child care helper arrived promptly at the appointed time, we said bye to the kids and got in our borrowed car. Scott turned the key to hear... absolutely nothing. Sigh, it was gonna be one of those afternoons.

Never fear, the car was parked on a slight down grade so Scott got out and pushed a little then popped the clutch. Nothing. Again and again and yet again he attempted to start the car but it wouldn't cooperate. At one point he said it all brought back memories. I remembered the very same days back when we were dating and he had a truck that occasionally needed to be "popped" to start up. Being the gentlemen that he was (and is even more so today) he allowed me to be the popper while he was the pusher. Let's just say it wasn't pretty. I even drove off without him. I guess that's why he didn't let me be the "popper" today. I was going to offer but didn't want to be a show off after all he needed to go to language class too. Ha.

Well, popping the clutch didn't work so Scott called Archie. I ran back to the house (ok, I walked, it was only a half a block and it is hot here you know) to call our language instructor to let her know we were going to be late, but I couldn't find her phone number. So I walked back to where the car was only to find it an entire block further up the road, and still not started. The battery was completely dead. As I stood by Archie's van I noticed a lot of water under it but we just had a deluge of rain so I thought nothing of it. When the guys got back up to the van Scott's very keen mechanical eyes noticed there was a HUGE puddle of OIL under the van...oops. I probably shouldn't wear sunglasses on a cloudy day.

Now I'm thinking to myself, "Well there goes language school today. No car, no van what do we do now? Maybe we can ride the bus, but where do we get off? Maybe a friend can take us on their Moto, but there are two of us and I'm not too sure I'm ready for the 3 passenger moto experience. Scratch that idea." I headed back to the house for a more thorough search for the phone number to call our teacher. Once I found it and called her she was not at all phased and told me to come when we could manage. As soon as I hung up Scott came in they had taken the battery out of the van and put it into the car and we were off to language school.

Hopefully you're not thinking that our first language class was more exciting than our attempts to get there. It wasn't! Our teacher is great! She responds well to my confused expression and explains in English what I didn't get in Spanish. We have our first homework assignment studying greetings and introductions and putting the correct masculine or feminine articles with the jobs pictured on the page. Did you know that "I don't understand." is said, "No entiendo." It is NOT said, "No tiento/tienta. (no care/shop)"? No wonder people looked at me so strangely when I told them I didn't understand.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Blistering hot days...

Require a nice ice cold Coke Slurpee. I love Slurpees! On hot summer days, ever since I was little I would head up to the local 7-11 to get a Big Gulp cup filled to the Slurpee brim. Today it is nearing a sweltering 100 degrees in Colonia and I can almost taste the ice cold slushied soda. We have only one AC unit in the house, and that's not in the room I'm in right now. So my craving only increases as I write this blog entry.

Perhaps you don't know what a risk I take in admitting this to you all. The risk has nothing to do with the government or immigration; the risk can be summed in two words, a name really, one Mrs. Sarah Crow.

All of us have dear friends with whom we love to share fond memories. One day, a couple years back, when Sarah and her husband, Paul, were on their way out west, we made sure they knew to stop at In N' Out Burgers for the BEST (!!!!) burger, fries and shakes they cold ever have! Not only did they take us up on our recommendation, they were sure to call us on the phone each and every time they were eating to their hearts content. The cruel taunting didn't stop there. It has evolved into a scrapbook page...made just for me. (See layout below.) Well, Sarah, have fun making the second page on Slurpees.

By the way, does anyone know how to make Slurpees at home? I read online today that you can buy genuine Slurpee machines. I have a sneaking suspicion that probably wouldn't qualify for a special project. Oh well, I guess I'll just keep my fond memories (and Sarah's soon to be Slurpee page) and I'll indulge my craving when we get back to the States for furlough.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Pictures of the container being unloaded

Hey, that's a container on the back of the truck. Don't be fooled though, that's not our container, it's the "moving truck".
Cecilia and Elida wait patiently while I look down our list of boxes to attempt to tell them where the boxes they have are supposed to go. It's a lot harder than it looks. I should have studied the spanish words for the different rooms in a house. If you look below you'll see that I wasn't communicating very well.

There were several men - Julio, Gabriel, Heber, Sebastian, Marco, Pablo, Archie, David and Juan Carlos; as well as several women - Elida, Rebekah, Norma, Cecelia, Andrea, Cristina, Ruth, and several teen girls who came to help unload the container. What a blessing to have all their help. Not only did they unload but they helped set up beds and move furniture around. The ladies helped me begin unpacking boxes too. We have a wonderful church family here in Colonia.
Ruth Perez is enjoying playing "Showers of Blessing" on her accordian graciously given to her by a family at Faith Baptist of Warren, Michigan; the Perez' sending church.

Mount Ever Rest! This is what beds are made for, right? That's what these bunch of monkeys thought. Simeon is not about to be left out of the fun as he skillfully climbs behind his big brother Nehemiah. Isabel sets aside all her feminine charm to hang out with the guys. Scary thing is she probably thought to climb the beds in the first place.
Our guachito (I sure hope that's a word, you know they add ito/ita onto words for little people, I'm just trying out my Spanish, we'll see if anyone corrects me) anyway, this rocking horse was Brandon's when he was Simeon's age. Thanks Uncle Fred and Aunt Gail, guess you never imagined this horsie would make it all the way to South America.