Tag Archives: English

When it’s okay to cheat

No, I’m not advocating immoralism. ¬†Just saying, that there are certain times when it’s okay to switch to English. ūüėČ ¬†You know, like when…

1) You can’t figure out how to use the ATM.

2) You can’t figure out how to pay your bill at the restaurant, and it’s time to go.

3) You don’t understand how to do something important, like, I don’t know, buy a local cell phone.

4) You are blogging.

Though I was surprisingly impressed with my ability to comprehend discussion yesterday, today was throughly overwhelming. ¬†Let’s say comprehension went from 85% to 25%. ¬†I don’t understand squat if people don’t talk slowly. ¬†I mistakenly gave the (honest) salesman at the cell phone store twice the amount of money necessary, because I thought he said twenty something, instead of nineteen. ¬† That was¬†embarrassing, though not quite as¬†embarrassing¬†as when a native speaker asks you a direct question and all you can do is smile because you have no idea what he said.¬†¬† I followed very little of the lecture at the Cathedral today, although I think that was mostly because of jet lag and a lot of vocabulary I didn’t know.

When the people showing us around the city ¬†started talking to each other (and not me and the other 2 students at the table) I almost threw up wondering how I’m going to function in an academic setting, because I hadn’t the slightest idea what they were talking about. ¬†I was quite comforted when one of the other students at the table told me that he also had no idea what they were talking about either. ¬†They were just talking too fast for us.

In the same way that I get stressed when I don’t understand Spanish, I get frustrated when people flip into English, because I want to get better. ¬†My language skills are not to the point where I can turn the language I’m thinking in on and off. ¬†When I am finally in the setting where I’m thinking in Spanish, it’s challenging for me to be around English and stay in that Spanish-thought mindset.

All that frustration was offset by the amazingness of walking around downtown. ¬†I’ll get some better pictures of Santiago this week, but hopefully these give you a general idea of how¬†beautiful¬†this place is.

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Tomorrow, we are going to a couple of cities in the area and driving up to Portugal.  (awesome).


la cucaracha x2 (na na na na na na na)

Team three got in last night. ¬†This one’s staying with me in Queens, while team two is still out a Brooklyn. ¬†There both nice groups. ¬†Today, we were out canvassing for children’s programs and English classes in Jackson Heights, Queens, which was great because we had a lot of people, covered a lot of ground, and last time I did this we only got the word out about the English classes. ¬†I think the kids understood how what they were doing opened a lot of doors for long term ministry in the community too, which is great. ¬†After work we went to F.O. Schwartz, which you might recognize if you’re a Tom Hanks fan (think Big)

Giant Toy Store


Recognize this seen? Guess what store has it...in addition to things like a $25,000 Barbie foosball tables

I really enjoy showing teams around, but it is¬†exhausting. ¬†Tiredness is exacerbated by lack of sleep too, so that’s been hard. ¬†On another note, and for your sake, I’ll skip the details. I never want to see another¬†cockroach¬†(dead or alive) in my life.

And I thought I was young…

First team from Swan Creek Community Church in Delta, Ohio arrived yesterday. ¬†In the 24 hour period they’ve been here we’ve done a lot, including meeting up with some folks with Urban Impact. ¬†We worked at a South Asian Community Center and advertised for their English Language Classes. ¬†That was an¬†experience.

Normally, something like passing out flyers to strangers wouldn’t phase me at all, but having been in the city for a couple weeks, it actually did. ¬†I knew that the information we were handing out was really needed and would be well accepted, but since I’ve been here, people have constantly been trying to shove stuff in my hands. ¬†I was afraid of being blown-off. ¬†That couldn’t have been further from what actually happened.

Sure, people on the street won’t take paper from a stranger, but the small restaurants and stores did, eagerly. ¬†Many people in the community we were working in do not speak English. ¬†It is¬†predominantly Muslim and has many immigrants. ¬†Free English classes aren’t just a pastime. ¬†The ability to speak English opens huge opportunities, allowing individuals to better provide for themselves and their families.

One group knocked on the door of a law office.  The lawyer came out and took our flyer.  He circled the phone number and the address and said that he would be getting the information to lots of people who would be contacting us.  The man also asked us why we were doing what we were doing, and like lots of people, asked how we were able to help people out for free.

It was only a couple of hours, but the man from Urban Impact said that he expects 80 new people to show up on Monday because of what we did.  Jeff said he anticipated us having a positive experience, but even he was a little overwhelmed with how well everything went.

The afternoon was jam-packed with cross city walking and part 1 of our prayer walk. ¬†I’d been to Ground Zero before, but being at St. Paul’s, where all the rescue workers rested after 9/11 was unbelievable. ¬†There’s something amazing about how the whole space was used, looking at the pew George Washington sat in and reading on the plaque behind it how in a time of need, even this great piece of American history was used to provide for rescue workers.

Reconstruction at Ground Zero

inside St. Paul's

We had dinner in China town, and I had my first try at haggling.  After that, I ran the group through Central Park, and we sat down for a devotional time.

Even though it takes the few extra minutes I have, I’ve made a point of talking to the girls on the team every time I can. ¬†I figure the work we are doing is great, but the relationships, among ourselves and those we are serving is how God’s going to be working. ¬†The point of everything that we are doing is to build those relationships.

I’m young and energetic, but after a day like yesterday, today, and what’s coming tomorrow and Monday,¬†whew let’s just say it’s a lot of work. ¬†Good work though.