This afternoon we started our first series of “LAPs” (Language Acquisition Projects) with our friends Jenny and Landen. Basically, it’s a bit of a counterintuitive approach to learning any language. It was a system we learned at our pre-field training in Colorado and something we haven’t really been able to try out until now. Thanks to Jenny (our “language helper” and native Czech speaker, we basically just learn sentence, speak it, and repeat. More than anything though, we spend our time listening and trying to hear the nuances of the language. Much a like a child learns their native language, that’s sort of the approach of LAPs.
We will definitely continue our normal lessons with our friend Tamara, but I guess (and I’ll make up a phrase here) “LAPs fill in the gaps.” If our usual book lessons focus on grammar, then LAPs just focus on talking and hearing the language. If our normal lessons focus on vocabulary, then LAPs focus on creating sentences and phrases. We’re hoping for the best of both worlds and based on our time today I think it just might be the extra dose of language we need.
With the added language time, it’s going to push our schedule around a bit so that’s going to be a stretch. However, we always felt that our time in language is some of the best use of our time and will allow us to be more effective long term in the Czech culture. Please continue to pray for us as we make a transition here and hope to continue regular focused language instruction and practice.
We have been having regular Czech lessons on Wednesday mornings which are going great. Tamara (our teacher) has been very gracious and helpful, especially this morning when I couldn’t pronounce the Czech word that basically means “middle” in English. Above is a photo of our books out on the table and below is a photo of us studying direction words in relation to the town square or center of town. As a bonus, it’s nice to know how to say “hospital” just in case we need it!
It was much colder this morning than most mornings. I’m not quite sure, but I believe the fog was freezing and falling to the ground. All around it was white, but I don’t believe it was snowing. I saw nothing but white as I drove this morning as well. Below are a few photos of the white, along with a photo of the car telling me it’s -2.5 degrees Celsius (or 27 degrees).
Later in the afternoon the sun broke through the clouds and fog and it was very beautiful outside. Even though it doesn’t last long, it’s always a joy to see the sun. You kind of forget how many days it’s been since the sun was shining, but you definitely feel it when it does. I walked to the window today at the JV office and looked out at streaky clouds and took the photo below.
This evening we enjoyed a dinner with our friends Jenny, Landen, and Martina who all serve with Josiah Venture. Jenny and Landen moved here from Santa Clarita (where we moved from) and Martina is from Czech (well, to be clear, Jenny is Czech but has been living in the States for about many years). Bethany made a family favorite, Cheddar Corn Chowder Soup and we had a fun time laughing and talking about our new lives here. It’s great to serve with all of these wonderful people and are so thankful for their friendship.
Today was a bit of a rest day. We had a full day yesterday traveling from Bratislava and we spent the evening cleaning and packing as we made a small move from the place we’ve been staying to another missionaries house just down the road. Our container is scheduled to arrive tomorrow! We believe we have at least a dozen people coming over to help us move our stuff in, so that’s a huge answer to prayer. I’m sure it will be like Christmas getting all of our stuff and moving things in.
We didn’t have a super full day (which was a nice break), but we did have our first Czech lesson in Czech! We’ve done lessons in the States, but today Jitka got us going on some vocabulary and common greetings. Above is a photo of some commons places we were learning. We were saying things like “I am at work” (far left) and “she is at home” (or “doma”). Czech is definitely not an easy language and some words are quite difficult for our English trained tongues, but I thought we both did pretty well today and we’re looking forward to continuing this language learning journey.
This little bird (above) flew right into a closed second-story window at the house we’re staying in. I heard the thump, saw feathers flying, but never saw a bird. Assuming it had just flown away I didn’t think much of it until about ten minutes later when I went outside and found him sitting on the ground like this. He sat there for a bit and let me get very close. Eventually he flew away, but I thought it was worth sharing.
The last thing on our agenda today was to receive the appliances we purchased the other day. They called and said they would be arriving between 5-7pm at our new apartment so I decided to go over alone because there’s just nothing in our new place for the kids. The delivery guys showed up just a little after 5 and even though I couldn’t speak much to them I tried out some new Czech I just learned. I said, “Tady” meaning “here” for the washer and dryer. To be honest I thought was saying “there” but it still worked! Well, sort of…the washer and dryer didn’t fit.
Apparently not all doors are made the same. The door for the wash room just wasn’t wide enough for our machines. There was probably about a half-inch of overhang and they just weren’t going to make it through the door. It’s actually going to work out just fine because the previous missionaries had the exact same problem and the hoses and hook ups have already been moved to other side of the wall. Now they will sit on the other side of the kitchen in a small hallway type area and it’ll be fine (shown below). We’re just thankful to have them! They also brought in our fridge which we didn’t have any issues fitting. It’s really fun to see our little home coming together.