Last night I spent some time talking to an amazing couple in a somewhat similiar-to-ours multi-cultural relationship. Well, even more interesting was observing the dynamics of the bilingual aspect of their relationship. Both speak Spanish and English very well, and I’m guessing the husband also has a third language under his belt. As I started the conversation in English, they continued. Though I speak and understand Spanish fine, the English teacher in me kept speaking in English to keep the wife practicing. But under normal circumstances they communicate to each other in Spanish.

I make Daniel speak English here in the States, and I spoke in Spanish in Peru. Eventually I’m sure we’ll go back to Spanish when I start slipping there or need to brush up on my expressions. But let’s be honest, no bilingual couple stays 100% in any language. And I noticed this even in our conversation last night. Certain sentences were in Spanish, sometimes out of excitement, sometimes because the topic just didn’t feel as natural in English.

A photo posted by Daniel Taipe (@inz) on Sep 6, 2015 at 4:56am PDT

// the one thing I loved watching was what happened every time she was trying to think of a word in English or say a word she didn’t know. Even though I would have understood even if she said the word in Spanish, she turned to him and asked “how do you say… in English?” In those brief moments when she felt lost and didn’t know the answer, her very first instinct was to look to her husband. Sure, she could get the word from anyone, but naturally, without thinking, she turned to him.

This instinct amazes me. Without thinking, we know who we trust the most. And it really is a relationship being built over time that brings you to lean on each other for more than just the basic needs of life. I hope my marriage is learning some of these same lessons.

But more than anything, I hope my relationship with God is building the same way. We often say that we know we should ask God for help even for the little things, but don’t think to do it. I think a lot of this is built on relationship, not even our typical “oh, He came through for me this time, I guess I’ll ask again” or “I know I should ask Him first, so I really just have to remember.” Maybe, just by talking to Him daily, sharing our hopes and fears, we’ll get to the point that without even realizing it, we lean over and ask “hey, how do I say this?”

Day 13: Office Decorating 101

So today during lunch I ran across an interesting article about 13 Things Your Desk Says About You. While the concept of personal marketing isn’t necessarily new to me, the thought of my desk playing a part of that certainly is. Of course I glanced hesitantly over my workspace realizing how much dust had accumulated in the corners. I’m not necessarily a talented decorator. 

Day 13: For better or worse, the condition of your workspace reflects on you. The article touched on things like “too many post-its,” “too many pictures of your family,” “too many toys” (or not enough toys if you’re a creative type) and “too many pictures of travels.” The main point to me seemed to be balance and mindfulness. Be conscious of what everything you have at your desk represents something about you. I’ll keep my post-its (hey, it’s how I process), but I may be more mindful to throwaway notes I no longer need. I’ll keep up pictures of my husband, because I like him well enough, but I keep those in a corner just for me. I still think it’s very important for mental health to keep happy triggers at work. But yes, everything we have in public gives a clue to who we are, so choose wisely.

I’m sure this lesson extend to many aspects of life. But maybe that’ll be a lesson for another day.

Day 12: Life’s not fair

Today was a tough day. With the holiday season and coworkers on vacation, there have a been a few extra responsibilities to look out for, but I can handle that. Today I spent most of my day immersed in the news articles about the Mandera Massacre in Kenya. It’s gruesome, so I’ll spare you the details (read them online if you want to). The whole story shook me to be honest. But one small little detail snuck almost unnoticed. The Adventist Church that meets in that town, approximately 15-20 people on a regular basis, had 4 armed guards the morning they were meeting, BEFORE news arrived of an attack. So meeting with at church for them comes with armed policemen outside to help keep them alive. 

Day 12: We often see how our life isn’t fair; some people in the world have worse than we can imagine. I’ve lived in unsafe places before, and know the reality of not living in the sheltered environment. But I have never lived somewhere that I needed an armed guard to meet somewhere with people who believe the same thing I do. 

My heart breaks for the lives that were lost, the families that were broken, the community that was changed forever. Those who remain face more than most of us will ever have to. Life’s not fair. But for just a moment I realize how much worse it could be. May we never forget.

Day 7: Care about Quality

My new self-proclaimed “looking away from the screen” project at work is to read through this small book called Health and Wellness: Secrets that will change your life to find sharable quotes for social media. I’m on chapter 6 entitled “You Are What You Think” and I’m sure my thoughts could be a lot more positive.

There is some great content in this book, really there is. The only problem is that on about the 3rd page, the pages started falling out. Now each time I turn a page, it falls out. And I promise you that I’m not just a violent reader. I treat all books with care and admiration, so there’s no need to turn me in for abuse. But there’s something about this book that has it falling apart. I thought maybe it was just my book, but when I went to see a friend’s copy the same thing happened.

Now to be fair to the publisher, this book was made to be as inexpensive as possible, so that people could buy many copies to share with their friends. They end up costing just under $2.50 a piece, which is a deal for over 100 pages of valuable information.

But as I watch each page fall silently from it’s place, I can’t help but wondering how much extra it would have cost to keep that from happening. And that’s a big deal coming from someone like me who grew up in a family of thrift store deal hunters. But my lesson for day 7: It’s important to care about quality. In my mind, it is now hard to separate the poor quality material from the great content. I may agree with everything and want to share the content with my friends, but I’d be embarrassed to give them a book I knew was going to dissolve in their hands. This is probably an attitude I need to adopt to many areas in my life. In what areas do you feel you need to increase the quality in your life?

Minute Men Translators

Once again I found myself translating last minute, which is now becoming a specialty. It was fabulous though. We had the closing ceremony here for the Caleb project, a service/evangelism program for youth in which 20,000 young people from all around Peru came to participate in. Our closing ceremony hosted about half of them. And as a special guest, we had with us Pastor Hiskia Missah, Associate Youth Director of the General Conference. And is he fun to work with! 
They showed up, and when I went to greet them I realized he had no one with him explaining what everyone was saying. Poor guy was lost. So I volunteered to show them around campus a bit, and stay by his side explaining what was going on and translating. Well, this also included translating FOR him from English to Spanish on stage (something I was not exactly ready for, but didn’t do too bad of a job if I do say so myself). Not to mention it was great seeing a few familiar faces from my year in Brazil here too. And I’ll admit it made me a bit homesick for Brazil. But it sure is nice feeling something familiar. And it was encouraging to see how many people were there to participate and celebrate together. Well worth working until 10:30pm 🙂