That’s how I feel when I am speaking in front of more than four people.
Here is a video file of me sharing at last week’s Missions night at church.
I only had a couple days notice so I was extra nervous (although I’ve never actually given a speech when I wasn’t nervous even when given more time to prepare). Don’t mind the quivering voice and although you can’t hear the congregation, they did laugh when I hoped they would 🙂
Here is a 2 minute photo montage video from the last 5 months worth of projects.
A quick synopsis: Costa Rica (spanish school) El Salvador (spring water source scout) Panama (well drilling, borehole) Haiti (latrine construction, livestock) Ecuador (hygiene, sanitation, water management community training) Ecuador (water purification installation)
Graduated with A’s! Wahoo!
Although, you’d wonder how I got such good grades if you heard me during graduation yesterday. My teacher, Gaby, asked me some questions during my presentation that I was not expecting. So, when she asked me what my favorite sport was, I unintentionally made everyone laugh when I said “Sandia” (watermelon). She went on with the joking and I caught on to her questions and we had fun as she explained to the class how I was practicing idioms this week by using “a cada rato” (frequently – very often) and “a mano” (at hand) in a sentence that is really accurate, but maybe TMI. I said “siempre tengo mi agua a mano, entonces yo voy el baño a cada rato” (always I have water close at hand so I go to the bathroom frequently). As you might guess, our class spends a LOT of time laughing and we just continued that tradition during graduation as well. The two other classes (intermediate and advanced) also presented. Advanced had to compose and share a 5-min speech and all three students did awesome (yea Kathy, Mandy & Kayla!). The intermediate students had the whole group cracking up as they performed skits poking fun at all the mistakes most “beginner” Spanish speakers make (the taxi skit was the best!). I am really going to miss my teachers and fellow classmates, but it is time (and I am ready) to go home. I catch an afternoon flight and I should be crawling into my own bed by 2am tomorrow morning (hopefully!).
Next time I sign up for a training program, I’m going to pay close attention to the name. For example, the word “Intensive” in the title of my training program here in Costa Rica didn’t really stand out to me when I signed up. Oh, it certainly stands out now!
This program has been fantastic and overwhelming at the same time. I don’t even think I struggled this much with some of my engineering classes. I literally get tired while talking during class – especially when we are repeating verb conjugations over and over again. I think my tongue hates trying to roll my Rrrrrrrrrs so I will just have to take a talking break when I finally get home (sign language all around)
All joking aside, I have learned so much over the past 7 weeks and I am so thankful I had this opportunity to study. I also realized how much more there is to learn, so I’ve already lined up some friends and family members to practice with when I am managing Hydromissions projects from the States.
Does anyone remember that PSA for drug awareness where the narrator would say “this is your brain” as he holds up an egg? Then, as he cracks it into a frying pan, he says “this is your brain on drugs.” Well, this was my brain after Thursday’s class on indirect pronouns in Spanish grammar. I really thought I was understanding the teacher until I started doing the homework and realized I was completely off. I wasn’t the only one struggling and our teacher told us later that it is the hardest topic she teaches in our level. Between figuring out grammar homework and having an exam in language class on Friday, you can imagine my brain was pretty much spent once I left school in the afternoon. Since I really needed a break, I was happy that I had an R&R day planned for Saturday! Kathy and I got up at 5:30am to catch an early bus to a little beach town called Jaco on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. We met up with friends from school (Kayla, Mandy & Jared) who had traveled to Jaco the night before and we hung out for the day with them before all returning to San Jose in the evening. We spent the afternoon in the water – swimming, surfing and playing with some cheap inner tubes we picked up in the supermarket. It was fantastic!
Wahoo! I am at the half-way point for this 7-week intensive program!
Yesterday, we learned “Perifasis” – basically, we started putting sentences together with the verbs, nouns and adjectives we have been studying so far. I put together my first story in class today. It starts out with “He is Fred” (now the title of this post makes sense, right?). It is simple. I even used the names “Jake & Jill” in the story, but no worries – they didn’t go up a hill. I wouldn’t plagiarize like that. My story of Fred’s fiesta was equivalent to what a child would write in elementary school and, because of that, I am going to bring it home and put it on my dad’s refrigerator! Maybe he will give me a gold star?!
Since photos of studying are pretty dull, I’m showing you a photo of Doki – who appears to have been put to sleep listening to me repeat my vocabulary.
All is well here in San Jose! The classes have been difficult and overwhelming, but I am cheerful over small victories like pronouncing a word correctly or using the correct verb conjugation (wahoo!). I am leaving shortly to fly to San Salvador for the scouting project in the mountains. I already plan to practice my words as I trek up to the village (long terk, lots of words!). Maybe I will make them a song…”Correr y Comer y Apprender” Anyway, I have to get going, but I wanted you all to know where I would be for the next couple days. Below is a view from my campus.