By the time I got to Tuesday, March 6 I was pretty drained: physically, emotionally, mentally. It was a great day to relax and recover! Now I’m feeling great and just went out this afternoon to complete an hour run.
This month I’m taking a break from the monthly intensive language courses. Instead I’m meeting with a tutor. I was recently asked to elaborate about my language learning experience, how this experience is changing me and what’s going on in my heart as I stumble around in a different language:
Language learning is sort of like shopping at Home Depot. Each month that I attend language school I get a few new tools. These tools are fantastic. They have shiny buttons and lots of power!! Some tools are tiny and I can easily carry them in my pocket and other tools are massive and I definitely need the instruction book again and again to even remember how to turn them on!
As I gather these tools in class I think to myself, “Wow!! Now I can say this or express this or share this!” Even just learning how to say “because . . .” was thrilling for me. Before, all of my statements just ended with no reason to why I was going somewhere, doing something or even why that was my opinion.
Therefore my orange shopping cart is piled with tools, month after month. But with all these tools it’s hard to know where and how to begin using them. And what can I even make with these tools? Right now I’m probably only utilizing a couple tools really well (those tools that help you say your name, where you’re from, what you do, your hobbies, your favorite foods, etc.).
However, I have dreams to build a CASTLE with all of these tools.
I know these tools can build a castle — I just know it! I dream of the days when I can pull out these tools and create more intricate architecture, build a drawbridge, create a tower with a spiral staircase. A beautiful castle where I can take people with me into the deeper underground tunnels, explore, find treasures, go to the top of a tower and enjoy the view, run over the drawbridge, and even share more deeply about My King!
But my frustration lies in being overwhelmed with the tools and my ability to really use them like I know I can and want to. With the tools I’m using right now, I’m lucky if I end up with a birdhouse!
I try to celebrate the birdhouse building moments because each time I build a birdhouse it does look a little bit better. A bird might actually want to live in it!
But then I tend to look around at other people in my language class and see how they build and what they build. To me it looks so easy for them. They just spout out whatever they want to say and go at it with full force like they are driving a bulldozer. It seems that their passion for expressing themselves is so great they don’t care if they mess up. And just go for it! What they say is important to them that they simply want to get it out there.
I have passion about what I want to share from my life and who I am, but I’m scared to speak out and risk and share in language school. I’d probably be scared in English in a group setting like that let alone in a language that isn’t my mother-tongue. I fear being misunderstood.
I take little steps like sharing with my language teacher about how I had cancer, but I stumbled over the explanation and look back and wish I had said things differently or could’ve shared more about the hope I have had through it all. Or I even shared with a classmate this past month why I wasn’t coming to the next class because of my scan and chemotherapy. But she didn’t understand. Something got lost in translation.
Losing something in translation isn’t so bad when it’s your Starbucks order or trying to explain what your schedule is like to someone. But when I attempt to hold out a piece of my heart, my story in German, it feels even more vulnerable than it is in English.
It hurts when you’re misunderstood. It hurts when I can’t share more of who I am in this new language and way of communicating. It can feel very lonely because I’m not the type of person who likes to talk about the weather. I’d rather talk about the stuff that makes people tick, excited, laugh, cry, hurt, think, etc. And I want to be able to respond when they share with me about things that make them excited, laugh, cry, hurt, think, etc. There’s this craving for those types of conversations, face to face here in Austria. And while I have so many castle-building tools, I’m still learning how to even turn them on.
I recognize that I can’t learn to build a castle overnight. I can’t learn to use these tools well overnight. All of this takes time, and I must go through this process because this is exactly where God wants me to be right now so we can walk forward in how He wants to use me right here in Vienna.
Right now I keep reminding myself of this prayer that was prayed by a 9 year-old. I love prayers from children!! Without being prompted what to say, he prays for me and my language learning, “God help Krishana to speak German the way You want her to speak it!”
And I’m sure that’s exactly what God is doing. It may not be the way I want to speak right now, and I may feel like I’m simply walking around with an orange shopping cart full of tools that I don’t know how to use, but He didn’t ask me how I wanted to be used here in Austria, but just if I was willing to be used by Him and for His glory, not my own — period. And as hard and daily as it is, I have to trust that He can use a girl with an orange shopping cart, and that someday maybe He and I will build a German Castle together.
In February, a young couple (who I know from church) and I organized an ice-skating outing for a handful of teens and their friends at the main outdoor ice skating rink in Vienna. It was a lot of fun!! At this rink there are multiple paths that you can follow on your skates leading you to another smaller outdoor rink. For those of you who live in the Louisville area, this ice skating experience at times felt like Spaghetti Junction — lots of merging!! Here are a few pics:
Be praying as we gather the group again this Friday for a “Cook and Chill” night! I’m hoping this night will be even better in getting to know the group more and building those relationships.
I thought I’d include some of these pics from my short trip to Innsbruck at the end of January. It was fun walking around the Old Town section and just snapping pics left and right.