My Language-Learning Journey

My Language-Learning Journey

Hello guys! I hope that you’re having an absolutely beautiful day. πŸ™‚ It has been quite a while since I talked about language learning (except for in practically every single Little Accomplishments, haha), so for today, that’s what I have written about! I’ve touched on this in the past, but it was one of the very first blog posts on my blog (haha), so I will expound on that post, go back a bit further, talk more about the present, stuff like that. If you’re interested, especially if you are learning or would like to learn a new language yourself, I’m sure that you will enjoy today’s post!

Exclusive English Speaker: My Childhood

Like many Americans, I grew up in a household that spoke only English. The only other languages I heard were fragments of conversations out in public, as well as the infrequent use of a foreign phrase, which really doesn’t count. As a whole, I had very minimal exposure to any language but English from the time I was a baby.

That is, any spoken language.

Do you know what ASL is?

American Sign Language and Learning New “Words”

When my little brother was a baby, and I was three to four years old, my mom discovered the world of baby signs. It is very much like American Sign Language (ASL), but only includes the basic signs babies and young children would want and need to use the most. She began using some signs to communicate better with Joshua, such as “more,” “eat,” and “drink,” and I was captivated. It was like this secret hand language that only my family knew, and while I can’t remember when exactly my fascination first began – maybe the first few times Joshua signed back? – but I quite quickly found it to be a lot of fun.

It wasn’t long before I’d learned to count to 10, sign off the alphabet, and express basic feelings and emotions, and my interest in this unspoken language has never gone away. ❀

The Art of ASL

Over the years, my family and I have learned so many signs. I have never sat down and attempted to list all the ones I know, as that would be quite a feat, but I’d say … maybe two hundred?? I have no idea. Anyway, I wanted to add to this post that ASL isn’t just a silent way of communicating; in my opinion, it is also a beautiful form of art.

Back when I was maybe eight or nine, I remember watching my mom sign along to a song we were listening to in the car at the time. I thought that this was the coolest thing EVER! It’s basically like dancing along to a songΒ with your hands – I mean, tell me, isn’t that insanely cool?! In the years that followed, I have signed along to songs I know the lyrics to, and also looked up signs to be able to do it more fully. It is an absolutely amazing experience, and absolutely free of charge, as well!

If for no other reason, I find that ASL comes extremely in handy when I need to ask my mom or brother something wordlessly. This can either be when I’m eating, or halfway across the room, or I have to be quiet for some reason. However, if I try to spell something in ASL, or use a complicated sign that only I know, it can get confusing really quickly, haha!! Still, they know all the main signs, so communicating simple things isn’t a big deal.

Taking A Second Language For School

My love for American Sign Language almost carried over into my education in 8th grade. The spring that I finished 7th grade, my mom told me I would need to take a second language as one of my subjects the following fall. So, I thought, “Oh, that’s cool! I’ll just take ASL.” Turns out, that’s not an official language you can learn and get academic credit; they just teach and approve spoken languages. lol I was extremely disappointed, though.

That summer, I checked out a French language course from the library and proceeded to teach myself the basics. I already knew that my mom wanted me to learn Spanish for school, not French, as it made more sense for where we live (little did we know it would make more sense for my future, too, haha), but I decided to go ahead and learn a bit of French, as well, as it’s a beautiful language and, at the time, I despised Spanish. I thought, why learn a language if it doesn’t look cool or sound pretty? I mean, what’s the point? xD

Ohh, younger me. There are so many points.

However, I didn’t enter 8th grade hating learning Spanish and barely living through the lessons. I didn’t keep up with French and secretly dedicate more time to that than my studies of the language I was actually required to learn. You know what happened?

My Introduction to Spanish

In 2013, I became friends with a family in our neighborhood whose parents only spoke Spanish. Over the course of the next few weeks that summer, I went from wanting nothing to do with the language, to needing to know as much as my friend could tell me so I could have short conversations with her family.

Looking back, I first thought that this immersion experience was a wonderful coincidence. I dropped French like it was hot (lol) and began learning Spanish that fall with ease. Getting to talk to someone who spoke the language and them understanding what I said when I spoke was (and still is!) one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, knowing another language and being able to communicate in a different way is an invigorating experience for me.

At the beginning of 2017, when I almost simultaneously found the app Memrise and learned of the Lord’s plans for me and Guatemala, I corrected my observation and acknowledged the fact that His hand has been at work in my life for years. ❀

Meet Maggie: Aspiring Polyglot, and Servant of The Lord

To some, it may appear that I simply love learning new languages – and I do. But that’s not the whole of it.

Someone greater than I can comprehend has ordained this for me. He has a purpose for my life that I can only begin to imagine. Every second is vital, and this time of waiting is not meant to be wasted.

I love learning Spanish because He has placed the passion in my heart. I love Guatemala because of where He has lead my thoughts, hopes, and dreams. It blesses me exceedingly to be able to do my part, and watch Him do the rest. ❀

Now, before I go, I’d like to cover two more things in this post: what languages I know and how much of each (estimated, haha), and the resources I’ve used for learning Spanish over the years. Let’s get into this!

The Languages I Know

{in order of fluency}

English – I have been speaking English my whole life, and there are now few words I don’t know. My only drawback is that because I read so much as a child, I “taught” myself to pronounce different words a certain way, which ended up being the wrong way. I occasionally misstep on how a word is said, and I get sooo embarrassed, haha! I’m an ace at punctuation, and I’m quite the expert at grammar, but the grouping terms (adverbs, participles, etc.) are way beyond me.

Spanish – For the past four years, I have been teaching myself Spanish with various digital resources (listed below). It has not been a consistent process – I’ve taken time off when I grew weary or lost interest in the program I was currently using – but it has been a great journey as a whole. I know all of the basics by heart, am quite good at tenses, and could probably hold a pretty decent conversation with a native speaker, although I haven’t gotten to do that in a while.

American Sign Language (ASL) – I’ve been learning signs since I was four years old, and while I couldn’t hold a real conversation with a deaf person, they would get a pretty good idea of what I was trying to convey, lol.

Portuguese (Brazil) – I have been teaching myself the basics for the past few months. It’s exciting when I’m able to catch on to the similarities of this language and Spanish, but I’m taking it slowly because I fear I will mix up the two languages in my head, and I don’t want to do that.

French – For the last couple of years, I have acquired the knowledge of basic phrases and some. It won’t get me very far, but I’m fine with it for now.

Dutch – I went through a phase back in ’14 where I read a lot of books by an author who was from the Netherlands, and I quickly fell in love with the country and its language. I took a few lessons on an app on my phone and learned the basics, but that was it, and my understanding is quite dusty by now.

4 Language-Learning Courses / Apps
That I Have Used

  • Instant Immersion. This is a complete course you can buy on Amazon for less than $100, but I would not recommend it. The information is good, yet the setup is poor; the man and woman speaking the phrases make unnerving facial expressions; and I actually doubt the legitimacy of some of the words and sentences now. It was a nice introduction for me, but please, get something else.
  • Fluencia. This is an online course that has different package deals (you pay for how long you intend on learning the language), and while I used this website, I was really happy with what I learned! I love the setup, the voices and phrases they chose, and the review sessions were amazing. The main thing I learned that has proved extremely helpful now was tenses. I’m so thankful for what it taught me! However, when I wanted to take a break from learning after nearly a four-month streak, my mom went to cancel our subscription, and they basically said because we weren’t going to be paying them money anymore, they terminated my account, which made me lose all my progress. DON’T GIVE THESE GREEDY PEOPLE ANY MONEY! I was planning on returning to using Fluencia after my break, but then I saw how awful the people behind it were! Please, invest in other language-learning software!
  • DuoLingo. This is a fan-favorite for people wanting to quickly pick up a language, as it’s free and the courses are pretty thorough, but I honestly think it could be better in so many ways. The woman’s voice they chose for the Spanish course is very monotone and puts me to sleep. Also, there are too many phrases that were irrelevant. For example, I’M NOT GOING TO USE “I AM A POTATO” IN REAL LIFE. xD As a whole, I did enjoy it for a while, but now I know that there are better options for me. If you want to try out DuoLingo for yourself, go for it. If you already love it, that’s awesome! Personally, I don’t enjoy it now, but to each his own.
  • Memrise. You guys have heard me rave about this, but if you want to hear me get all excited about it again, I highly recommend that you get Memrise! It is the best one I’ve tried so far, all the best features are free, and there are so many languages to choose from. Please, if you have an Apple or Android phone, or if you’re interested in doing it on your PC (they have an online version, which is also free! – not sponsored!), definitely try it out!

That’s all for today, guys! (And at almost 2k words, I should certainly hope so, lol.) Let me know in the comments below:

What language/s are YOU learning?

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Bible Verses That Comfort Me

Bible Verses That Comfort Me

Hi guys! I hope that you’re all doing well. x It has been a while since I did a post sharing some of my favorite Bible verses, so that’s what I’ll be talking about today! Sharing the ones that I love is so much fun, and I also love recommending comforting verses to others. I’m surprised it has been so long since I did a post like this!

Below, you will find a small compilation of Bible verses that, as the title suggests, are of great comfort to me. I’m always finding new verses in the Bible that bring me peace, and the ones for today are just a selection that I frequently come back to. I hope you enjoy! Let me know in the comments below which verses are comforting to YOU. πŸ™‚

My Favorite Comforting Verses

My first favorite is Romans 8. That whole chapter is absolutely amazing, and if I had to pick just one verse from it that blesses me the most, it would be 8:11.

And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit Who lives in you.

I spotted that verse for the first time on Pinterest, no less. It was a while back, and it completely blew my mind. It’s verses like that one that I continually come back to, because like so many others, it’s worth reading over and over again!

My second recommendation is from the beginning of John 15. The first eight verses are a parable Jesus told His disciples, and as I’ve mentioned in my Cultivating A Joyful Life series, I am completely in love with His parables. This one is about how He is the True Vine, and that we are the branches. The fifth verse does a good job of summing it up (see below), but the whole parable is definitely worth reading.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.

It beautifully reminds me to focus on growing in His love, instead of looking to outside circumstances for contentment and happiness. He is the reason for my joy!

For my third choice on this list, I definitely have to include Philippians 1:21.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

While I’m here on this earth, everything that happens in my life is part of His plans for me! And when my time on this earth is done, I will spend all of eternity by His side. ❀

I’ll have to do a second part sometime! I enjoyed it. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

What are YOUR favorite Bible verses?

thanks to jirah and elline for my signature! xx

Blogging Challenge – Day 9: Favorite Types of Food and Recipes

Blogging Challenge – Day 9: Favorite Types of Food and Recipes

Warning: Don’t read this post if you’re hungry. I guarantee that today’s prompt will make your stomach grumble even louder than it already is.

I love food. Like, a lot. What human doesn’t? Haha! Although, my tastes are a bit different than most, I should admit; I prefer my cuisine to be … I wouldn’t say bland (although my mom might, haha), but moreso simple. I don’t like many strong flavors, and most things fancy or with special taste/texture (picture 12-year-old me nearly choking on Chicken Cordon Bleu at my aunt’s rehearsal dinner), those things aren’t for me. My daily palette is quite boring, very lacking in extravagant flavor and … most everything, really. Care to hear about my favorite foods now? No? I’m sorry I’ve bored you already. Hahaha!

You can read about what this challenge is here. And make sure to check out Cheila’s and Angela’s posts for today, too – we’re all doing the challenge together!

Favorite Types of Food

  • Cheese. I love cheese. I like it as the topping on different dishes, the filling for different dishes, and whole meals focused on it for other dishes! My favorite kinds are Muenster, Monterey Jack, Colby, and Cheddar, but I’m always up for trying other types, too. lol
  • Bread. And by bread, I mean sub rolls, croissants, crescent rolls, biscuits, breadsticks, stuff like that – not sandwich bread. Although I do love that as the base for turkey sandwiches! If I’m ever over to your house and you’ve made some type of bread to go with the main dish, I’ll snag two or three – maybe more – of the bread and spend most of the meal eating it.
  • Pizza. This kind of goes along with cheese, but not quite! I don’t know what I’d do without pepperoni pizza – and other types of pizza. My favorite pizza place (Stevi B’s) has a specialty type that they serve called ‘chicken fajita.’ Ohhhh, man! ❀
  • Crackers. Specifically, Townhouse’s Parmesan Pretzel Crackers – I mean, I love other crackers alright, but there’s something so addictive, and salty and crunchy about these particular ones … I’m serious, if allowed to eat out of the box, I will gladly eat the entire bag. I think a serving is supposed to be like 6 crackers. How about no.
  • Pretzels. This might be considered a type of bread (sourdough), but I think of it as a category all its own! I absolutely love soft pretzels from practically anywhere, and pretzel crackers are alright, but what I really like are the soft ones.
  • Mexican food. Eh, kind of, anyway – like my mom said, I like the American versions of Mexican foods, hahaha! Mainly nachos, tacos (no tomatoes), Mexican rice, and tortilla chips with awesome Newman’s Own salsa. (Although I’ve recently been cutting back on my spicy food consumption, and my favorite salsa went with it!)
  • Chinese food. At this point in my life, I have not expanded my love for Chinese dishes that much – I enjoy a few, but am timid about trying anything new, lol. But I do enjoy Mongolian chicken, spring rolls, sweet-and-sour chicken, orange chicken, and sometimes chicken and broccoli, too. This brings me to my next favorite food:
  • Chicken! Goodness, I’m not sure why I didn’t list this sooner. Fun fact: When I was little, the only – yes, only – thing I would order from restaurants was chicken nuggets/tenders and fries. Sad fact: I still do that now. Not because there aren’t other choices. Because I love chicken and fries. Speaking of which!!! This next food I practically LIVE off of:
  • Fries!!! I am more than obsessed with fries; it is only on rare occasion that I meet a fry I don’t like. I don’t think I have an addiction, or anything, but I do gobble my serving down every time we go out to eat, and all of my favorite homemade meals come with a side of fries. Haha. I can’t help it!
  • Desserts/Candy/Sweets/Treats. This one goes without saying. I love anything sweet and sugary – probably 95%, anyway! Some of my favorites recently have been Scandinavian Swimmers from Trader Joe’s (they’re like Swedish Fish!), my raspberry streusel bars, caramel popcorn from Trader Joe’s, Cadbury eggs and white chocolate Reese’s eggs (from Easter last month!), and anything else we have around the house that’s delicious and sweet, lol.

Recipes

I have many favorite dishes, so I will give you a quick list of a few favorites from my mom’s blog, as well as my own!

That’s it for today’s post! Thanks for coming by. Are you hungry yet? I sure am!

What are YOUR favorite foods?

— Maggie

Blogging Challenge – Day 3: My Personality & Values

Blogging Challenge – Day 3: My Personality & Values

I’m usually quiet, but I love to make people laugh.

I’m not one to start conversations, but I’m happy to chat if someone speaks to me first.

I love parties, but I also love being at home.

Helping others in any way possible brings me the most joy … but I’m scared to death to just speak up and say something.

I’m a walking contradiction! Haha.

You can read about what this blogging challenge is here.

My Personality & Values

Upon seeing what today’s prompt is, I decided to take a personality quiz, as I honestly couldn’t just sit down and tell you all about myself. I mean, that would be pretty cool if I could easily bring to mind everything cool about moi, buuuuut I’m not that self-minded. Seriously, if you asked me what my hobbies are, I would look at you blankly and murmur, “What are hobbies?”

Haha, anyway, before I talk about the fun quiz that I took, I’ll go ahead and share my values. My family means the world to me, as do my friends, and my relationship with the Lord is the most important aspect of my life. I also value my education; learning new things and expanding my knowledge on a huge variety of subjects is important to me. I just love to learn, and when I’m able to, it’s what I love to pursue. πŸ™‚ Alright, on to the personality quiz!

I found a website called 16 Personalities last night. From the graphics and pictures displayed across their site, to the extensive personality quiz they offer to anyone for free, to the quiz results that can teach anyone so much more about themselves — the whole website is absolutely wonderful! (Not sponsored, I promise.)

I’m INFJ-T – an Advocate. What are you?

Please CLICK HERE to take the quiz yourself! It only took me about five minutes, give or take a few, to complete. You can find out a lot of cool stuff about your unique personality type, as well as what famous people/fictional characters you share traits with! (I got Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa. Who did you get??) Check out all 16 of the personality types here!

What is YOUR personality type? Comment down below!

— Maggie