~ College ‘n’ Chicago ~

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  • Bullet points of my last month in College in Chicago.  Enjoy!  🙂  (in no particular order) (p.p.s. The tone of this particular post shifts considerably all over the board… just bear with me and realize that I am really happy to be here and besides the long-ish section, I’m doing ok, and working through stuff with people.  I share my honest feelings at the time of the particular happenings without going into more details (the ‘boring’ stuff) about what happened afterwards.
  • My roommate is awesome.  She and I get along but we almost never see each other because of our completely opposite schedules.  We’re the ‘opposites attract’ situation.  Random fact: she falls asleep within 5 minutes of lying down!!  She’s amazing like that.  🙂
  • Chorale is AMAZING!!!  I absolutely love it!!  I can’t overemphasize how wonderful chorale is.  🙂  There are 31 of us, and although we are small, we have a very beautiful sound.  I’m most excited about some of the beautiful chords in a couple of the songs, as well as this one song we’re singing in Indonesian (it’s quite challenging!).  We memorize all of our music, though I’ve only memorized one piece so far (practiced over 14 pieces).  The chorale retreat really helped me get to know everyone – but I can’t share the initiation stuff or chorale traditions.  You’ll just have to join chorale to find out what happened. 😉  🙂  Every time I go to practice, I feel like I’m a music major and I fit in.  It’s a new experience to be among so many people my own age who love music like I do.  I’m not sure this will adequately describe what I do, but, when I sing a song I tend to add my own melody/harmony to it instead of singing the regular harmony.  At least, on more modern songs.  I don’t always do that to old hymns, etc.  But pretty much everything else gets something added.  The other people here do it too!!  🙂
  • I’ve got a babysitting job once a week for 3 hours with children whose parents are attending MBI.  Tonight there were around 7 or 8 children.  All of them were under the age of 3 or 4 (at the oldest) and most of them were on the younger side.  I spent most of the time holding a little boy named Benjamin and just holding him as he made himself cry for no reason.  After spending over 15 minutes trying to distract him, I simply gave up and just sat with him.  Oh, and I ate dinner and fed him his bread stick in little bits which did keep him quiet for a while.  I love working with children, though I was really tired around 2 hours into it.  I don’t even know how much I’ll get paid (or when, because of paperwork).  🙂
  • Hearing the radio during babysitting playing contemporary (pop perhaps?? no clue what genre) songs that I haven’t heard for over a month now.
  • Naps.  I can’t say I’ve really ever been able to nap in my life before (well, besides when I was a child).  But now??  Taking a nap is a common thing in college.  It’s a wonderful thing!  There’s nothing better than a short (or long!) nap to give you energy for the rest of the day. And no, coffee is not better than a nap.  The only thing not cool is when it ends in a nightmare that haunts you for the rest of the day… now -that-, I could live without.  =P
  • Everyone has their own specific favorite thing to eat in the SDR (student dining room).  For me it’s cheese. 😀  For one girl, it’s hot chocolate.  Another loves cereal.  One only eats salads.  One loves peanut butter with every meal.  It’s quite interesting and amusing. 🙂  We all tease each other good natured-ly.
  • *looks at tiny spider crawling up dresser*  Me: “I hate spiders.” (as I kill it with the nearest thing I can find)  Roommate: “For someone who hates spiders, you certainly don’t sound scared.”  Me: “It’s complicated.  I hate them, but I don’t scream or freak out… I would normally capture it and take it outside, but living in a dorm makes that a bit more complicated.  I’ll kill spiders I find in my room here.”
  • “You’re checking those out for pleasure reading???” *surprised voice of the librarian*  Me: “Yeah.  I love languages.” 🙂  I think I was checking out a book on Arabic script, a book on the Ukrainian language, 2 books on Latin (for singing in chorale, not because I’m studying that language), and 2 Linguistic books.  You know what I love about college??  I’m here.  I’m a college student.  I’m confident in that.  I can be myself.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t fit in.  It’s totally new.  Not that I don’t always try to not fit in… I do like to fit in, I’ll admit that.  But it’s so nice to not have to worry about fitting in all the time.  I’m in, already.  No one else can take that away.  🙂
  • College girl/partner in a weekly project: “Judgmental much??” (sarcastic/joking tone) after I had commented, “That man just walked across the street a minute ago.”  I mean, come on, he walked across the street while on his phone, stood on the other side and then walked back.  Who doesn’t notice things like that??!  😉  My response (admittedly a little miffed): “No.  I just notice details.  Besides, he speaks Arabic.”  (yeah, I know, that -totally- makes it non-judgmental if it relates to a language)  xD
  • Roommate: “You aren’t a city girl, are you?” -walking around for 45 minutes completely lost in downtown Chicago-.  Me: “Well, not exactly.  I’m from a suburb.  How can you tell I’m not from a city?  And you aren’t exactly a city girl either.”  I was genuinely curious to know what sets me apart from ‘everyone’ else (besides the actual fact that I’m not from there).  R: “You walk differently – smaller strides.  You ask constant questions about where we are and you look nervous.  You chatter. You notice everything.”  Me: *thinking: didn’t they tell us to be aware of our surroundings in every safety class I’ve ever taken?*  “Really?  How do people walk?”  *she demonstrates*  Me: “Oh, well, I have short legs, so of course I don’t walk like that.  It would be awkward.  Do people really not notice things like I do?”  (notice the constant chattering, haha)  She just shook her head.
  • So the noticing thing has come up a lot now.  I guess I’m observant.  And I’m happy to be that. 🙂  What fun would life be if we never saw anything?
  • Multiple people at different times: “Did you get my text/voicemail?”  Me: “No.  I don’t use my cell phone ever.  Remember?  I told you that.  I also don’t text.  Do you have my e-mail?”…  I think I’ve explained this to everyone on the campus (it feels like that sometimes).  I think I’m one of 5 people out of 1000+ who don’t text/use their phones ever (if they even have one).  Besides the bars never are high enough for me to call anyways so it is almost pointless (where as everyone’s more expensive phones get great reception here).  I’m a tiny tiny bit frustrated when people ask me if I got their texts/messages when I distinctly remember telling them specifically that I *almost* never use my phone.  I wasn’t kidding.  I don’t.  I don’t even remember to turn it on, so I’m sure next time I -do-, it will pop up with about 10 new messages and texts.
  • For part of a class assignment, I have to read the entire Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).  Although I will admit to it being quite a long read, and not always the most engaging reading in the world, God’s been teaching me things through it (well, of course, what else should I have expected?  Even though not all of the O.T.  (Old Testament) laws apply to us anymore, there’s still much to be gleaned about God and his character and other things related).  Maybe I’ll put up some of my specific notes/thoughts sometime in a future post.  Sticky notes are THE best!!  🙂
  • It’s almost 2:30 in the morning and I’m awake.  WHY??  No clue, but I’m awake and it might have to do with the nap nightmare I had this afternoon.  It involved life sized ant/bug/THINGS/creepyTHINGS, and eating them, and them being bad and taking over, and me floating in the air (the only non-creepy/ok part), and other things.  It was just generally disturbing.  :\  I can usually put things out of my mind, but this one just pops up whenever I least wish to remember it.  At least it wasn’t worse.  I have had at least 2 much worse dreams before.
  • CPO!!  🙂  It’s so cool!  You can send people on campus notes/gifts/letters or send mail to anywhere else as well.  When you’re in college it’s really really fun to get mail!  Scratch that.  It’s ALWAYS fun to get mail and packages. 🙂  My parents surprised me and sent me (through a friend, and not through CPO, now that I think about it…) a box with all sorts of things.  I only expected a new (replacement) backpack (because my ‘new’ one broke within a week or two of using it), a personal item and a computer foot (my computer has 4 and they have fallen off a couple of times).  Inside, however, was a bag of gummy bears (totally unexpected!), a bag of trail mix, a bag of dried fruit (my favorite!), and a box of cheese crackers (and probably other stuff as well, but this was a couple of weeks ago).  ^__^
  • I’ve never had the opportunity to live with this many people my age or even spend most of my time with people my age.  So the first week (/2 weeks) was a social high.  It was crazy and I’m convinced that I was running on pure energy from people.  Then I sorta crashed and had/am having a “sensory overload”.  I had that at home, but at home… there were 9 other people, not over one thousand (ok, more like 100+ that I actually know personally, but still!  It’s a lot to take in all the time (virtually all the time)).  I think this point could get rather lengthy so I’m going to split it up into a couple of points.
  • First off, let me say this.  I absolutely love the dorm floor I’m on.  😀 The girls here are amazing!  There are around 30 of us (18 freshmen) on our wing of the floor and I know the huge majority of them and get along with all of them.  We all have bonded really well in the past 4 and a half weeks.  You know what’s even more exciting???  Unless you specifically request to be moved, you stay on the same floor all of your college time!!!  ^__^  That means I’ll be with most of these girls until we graduate!  How cool is that??
  • We’ve got a good mixture of girls.  We are studious but we also have fun.  So, I think it balances nicely.  There’s always someone asking about how you did in a quiz (since we’re mostly in the same classes this first year) and discussing what they’re reading/studying.  It’s not a competition, but we talk about it all the time.  We certainly aren’t lacking for social events though, either.  I haven’t even gone to most of them (don’t worry, I’ve hung out with people, just, not at coffee places).  Each floor is assigned a ‘bro’ floor.  We have an awesome bro floor (and yes, I started almost every sentence with the word “We”) and I’ve gotten to do 2 events with them.  We also eat all of our meals with them.  We don’t have to, but it’s fun having a specific place you are invited to sit in.
  • The girls on our floor are about 2/3 late nighters.  The other 1/3 go to bed early or aren’t ever on campus so I have no idea what their schedule is.  So, there are always people around.  ALL the time.  In class.  In between class.  In the hallways.  On campus.  On the bus.  On the streets.  In your room.  In the bathroom.  You’re literally with people almost all of your waking hours unless you purposefully sequester yourself off by 1) listening to music on headphones/earbuds, 2) physically disappearing into the library (which also has people in it, but they’re supposed to be quiet-er), or 3) locking your room door whenever your roommate isn’t around and just being alone.  The only think time (reflective thinking) for me is when it’s quiet and no one is trying to communicate with me.  When I’m by myself.  If you go to bed at 12 or 1 every night and you’re up at 6:30, around people all day, doing homework in your room as your roommate studies, or girls come in and out, etc., and girls make noise in the halls, and then you go to bed it is a cycle that never ends.
  • I’m an extrovert, and I love people.  But this is too much of a good thing.  So, if you’re a college friend and you’re reading this don’t think I’m mad at you or don’t want to be friends if I’m listening to my iPod once and a while between classes or I just don’t seem in a talkative mood.  I just need to spend some time thinking and I can’t do that if I’m constantly interacting with others.  The noise here can be overwhelming to me.  In certain classes (2, to be exact) the class consists of at least 70 students.  When we have a break??!  The noise just overwhelms me.
  • I want to hang out with you guys (friend).  I haven’t hung out much in the past, so I love doing that!  I love you guys, actually, college is amazing and I’ve met and am making some wonderful friends.  🙂  I do want to hang with you guys!  Just not all the time every day of every week of every semester of every year… you get the point. :p
  • I’ve never had this problem with friends before, but then again, I’ve never been in this sort of situation.  At home I could just disappear to my room and turn up my headphones all day because I was homeschooled.  I have classes every day all morning here, so I will be around people (guaranteed) at least half a day (which is good, and I like classes) for 5 days a week.  Plus chorale for 4 hours every week, and my PCM once a week for over 4 hours when you add up the travel time + actual service time.  (PCM – practical Christian mission)  Plus all 3 of my meals every day since I’m currently on the 20 meal plan.  Plus the campus groups I’m in, or looking to join.  Plus everything else – i.e. life.
  • I think I’m being over redundant because it’s so ridiculously early in the morning.  Remind me not to get myself started on a touchy subject again at this hour of the morning.  I think you’ve got the point.  I went from having a lot of time at home to myself (almost all of my time) to think and do things alone to being in an atmosphere where you’re expected to spend almost all of your time with people all the time.  And it’s rude if you don’t.  Well, I’m an adult now, and that doesn’t give me an excuse to be rude.  However, I can express myself and politely ask for space once and a while and respect (and be respected by) others.  We’re all on an equal level here (ish, ok, there are upper class men/women and I respect you guys, I just mean in general we’re all here as students).  Most of the people I saw at home were my elders/adults in my life.  I like to please people even when I’m frustrated, annoyed.  Though I’ve been told I don’t hide my feelings well, so maybe they’ve always known they just ignored my facial expressions.  Who knows.  xD  But, next time I need space I’m just going to admit that to whomever happens to be trying to talk with me at the moment in a kind way but completely dead honest.
  • My RA says I’m … oh, I can’t think of the word she used,… but if you combine outspoken and honest together, you get the idea.  I’m blunt.  I say what’s on my mind, without always thinking how it will be taken.  I think in black and white sometimes, or just spew out whatever I observe (see points far above this one).  I notice things and I haven’t learned the art of patience.  I just learned how to ask questions.
  • This blog post pretty much shows my point.  I’m overstimulated so little things (such as friends wanting to talk, which is a perfectly natural thing) bother me when they shouldn’t.  The other thing that bothered me this week was when 2 different people signed me off (or tried to) on an attendance sheet when I was right there next to them.  They meant nothing by it, and in fact were trying to help, which is awesome.  But all 3 times (no, my math is right, just one person did it twice because I didn’t comment the first time) I was very upset.  The first time it happened I was more surprised than anything.  The second time I was just shocked the person did it again and I said so and said (not so politely) that I would be quite capable of crossing my own name off the list at the next class.  The third person didn’t even have a chance to cross off my name because I sorta jumped all over her as soon as I heard her ask where my name was on the list.  I still need to apologize to her for that, actually, because she was a bit startled at my upset response.  I’ve already worked out the disagreement with the other girl, thankfully. 🙂  That’s another adult thing… apologizing, asking for forgiveness, and working through stuff.
  • It’s hard work!  College isn’t easy.  There’s always homework – reading, quizzes, book reports, essays and projects.  Dealing with this many people all the time is really hard for me.  There’s always conflict to work through in some way, shape or form.  They require a lot of us here at Moody and they keep us busy.  I love it, but I won’t sugar coat it.  🙂  I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for anything else.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is God.  Wow.  He’s teaching me sooo many things here!  I won’t go into them because that’ll be another long topic and this one is already over 2600 words long!!  :O  But in the first four weeks alone, I’ve seen His faithfulness, His love, His holiness, and His forgiveness.  Wow is all I can say.  God is at work here and I’m so glad He invited me to be a part of life here at MBI.  🙂  Now, it’s 3 am and I need to sleep!  (don’t worry, I don’t have to wake up until 9 tomorrow because 2 of my normally scheduled classes were cancelled), 6 hours of sleep here I come!!Oh, if you want to pray for me:
  1. Sleep.  I can’t seem to sleep well (if you hadn’t noticed).  My brain just does not settle for one reason or another.
  2. That I would clearly hear and understand the Holy Spirit’s guiding on my life.
  3. Continued growth in time management skills (I can always improve here, can’t you?).
  4. That I would be able to find a balance between building intentional relationships (another thing I’ve never really done in RL) and having some time alone when I can process my thoughts (besides bedtime).
  5. That my roommate and I would continue to get along well and be able to be honest about the things we disagree on.  🙂  So far, so good!
  6. For the general health here.  Sanitation isn’t quite where I’d put it (not in any part to blame on the college, the cleaning people are great!  It’s due to the people living here), so when one person gets sick it spreads very quickly.  I thought a family of 10 was bad.  A family of 1000 is much worse.  :p

Thank you!

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One of the girls on my floor decided to write this verse on my wall ‘white-board sticker’. 😀

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Ukraine Prayer Letter

Dear Family and Friends,
        I wanted to let you know about an upcoming opportunity God has given me.  On Monday, June 24, I will travel to Ukraine.  I’ll return on July 22 (4 weeks later).  Last September, I traveled to Ukraine for 9 days with a missionary friend of mine.  This year, I will again be staying with her parents in the town of Tulchin.  My friend cannot travel with me, so I will be going over alone.  During the four weeks I will be working with the mission organization Building Hope.  They serve orphans and special needs families.  For two weeks this summer, they will offer a children’s VBS.  Last year they had so many kids that they decided to expand to two weeks this year for the first time.  They started doing VBS two years ago.  On Sunday afternoons I will get to visit a nearby orphanage which holds over 200 kids.
        Last year I was only in Ukraine for one Sunday.  At the end of the afternoon a couple of the girls asked if I would be coming back next week.  With a heavy heart I told them I would not be back next week.  I am so excited to see the kids again (at least three more times).  I don’t know specifically what jobs I will have during the weeks.  I will help with the VBS in whatever areas I can.  Building Hope also visits families with special need children to encourage them and help out wherever they can.  So, I will be visiting different families and villages.The family I’m staying with and the staff of Building Hope have asked me to teach them English.  When I’m not working on other things, I will be figuring out what to teach and how to teach it.  I look forward to the challenge of putting last summer’s 1 month of TESOL training to good use!  I also plan on helping around the home(s) that I stay at (I.e. Hand wash dishes, help fold laundry/hang it to dry, etc.).
        You’re probably asking yourself why I’m writing to you.  No, I’m not writing to ask for money.  I’m asking for your prayers.  More specifically, for:
~ For God to be glorified by everything I say and do.
~ Safe travels & that I don’t get sick like I did last fall.
~ That all my luggage/carry-on bags make it through without complications.
~ Easy customs/airport checkpoints.
~ Safety in Ukraine.
~ Ability to understand and learn lots of new words in Ukrainian and Russian.  For my brain to quickly adjust to the complete switch in languages.
~ Wisdom to know what/when to help (with).
~ Love for the people of Ukraine.
~ The Salvation of the family I’ll be staying with (my friend’s parents).
~ The Building Hope team to have the right words to teach the children at the VBS, and the families they minister to, and the orphans.
~ Good health.
~ Me, as I work on my first ‘real’ English lessons (both informal and formal).  That I would know exactly what to teach.  I know some basics on how, but figuring out the what is much more challenging.
        Thank you for reading my letter and praying for me.  Oh, I almost forgot!  I will be posting updates during my trip on a special travel blog (along with my regular blog).  You can keep up with me there.  Please comment with any/all questions/thoughts/comments you have!  I’d love to answer them.
Travel blog:    Sent2Serve.wordpress.com
Regular blog:   LanguagEnthusiast17.wordpress.com
Твой друг в Христос,
Элизабет
Your friend in Christ,
Elizabeth

DIY: Language Keyboards

A couple of years ago I started studying the Russian language.  I already really enjoyed looking into languages as a hobby, but after I met two people from Russia I began to spend more focused time in that language.  This lead me to want to communicate with my friends in Russia and make new ones.  But in order to type Russian on the computer, I needed to learn the Russian keyboard.  At that time, I did not know where to find keyboard stickers.  So I decided to make my own ‘practice’ keyboard to help myself memorize the different letter positions.  I thought I’d share my craft with you all so that if you’re ever interested in learning how to type in a different language (assuming your computer has different input choices) and want to spend a couple of hours making a fun craft, you can do so without coming up with all of the details yourself. 🙂

Don’t worry about doing the measurements to the exact millimeter.  Just get them as close as you can without stressing over it.  Sometimes you may need to trim some of the keys so that when you press them they don’t run into another one, but they should work after a little bit of tweaking.

Step 1.  Gather your supplies.  

  • 1 piece of cardboard (4.5 inches x 11.5 inches (or larger))
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 ruler (preferably with centimeters and inches)
  • 1 pencil/pen
  • 2-3 pieces of thick card stock paper
  • 1 piece of regular paper (optional)
  • 1 roll of clear packing tape (optional)
  • 1 roll of scotch tape (clear)
  • 1 computer that has the language you’re learning on it

(If you don’t wish to use your keyboard in a ring binder, ignore steps 2-4 and start with step 4.5.)

Step 2.  Fold the piece of regular paper in half.

Step 3.  Leaving an inch gap or so, tape it over the piece of cardboard.

Step 4.  Punch three holes into the paper (spaced to match with your binder).
keyboard outline

Step 4.5  Scroll to the bottom of this post to find all of the measurements for the keys, key springs and the keyboard.

Step 5.  Using the ruler and the pencil/pen, measure out the space for the entire keyboard and fill in each row.
[see picture under step 4]

Step 6.  Using your ruler and the pen/pencil, measure out the keys onto a piece of card stock paper.
Keys

Step 7.  Using the ruler and the pen/pencil, measure out the key springs onto a second piece of card stock paper.
Springs

Step 8.  Cut out the keys and the key springs with the scissors.
[see picture in step 6 and 7]

Step 9.  Fold each key spring.
[see picture in step 7]

Step 10.  Open your computer and make a list of every English key.  Then, change the language input to your second language and match them to the English keys.

[For example:  Type (in English)  A =   (on your list).  Then switch to your second language.  Go to your list after the = sign, and hit the *ENGLISH* A, while in the second language.  That way you know which key matches which letter on your new keyboard.]

Example list 1 (horizontal):
A = «    B = أ    C =  ئ
a =  ش  b = ز    c = ذ
1 =  ١  2 =  ٢ 3 = ٣
! = !  @ = @  # = #

Example list 2 (vertical) (I personally prefer this one):
A = Ф
B = И
C = С

a = ф
b = и
c = с

1 = 1
2 = 2
3 = 3

! = !
@ = ”
# = №

Step 11.  Make sure that you got every single letter — UPPER CASE *and* lower case.  On some keyboards, take Russian for example, most of the regular alphabet keys will remain the same in the upper and lower case setting.  In others, Arabic for example, multiple keys change their letter when you use the ‘shift’ key.  So make sure you get all of the keys with and without the shift key.

The only keys you should *NOT* get are: tab, shift, caps lock, control, command, alt, option, delete, and enter (and the up, down, left, and right keys if you have them).  These keys have no letters attached to them in any language (at least, none that I’ve tried so far, and I have tried: English, German, Russian, Maltese, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Greek, Thai, KarenUkrainian, and Chinese).

Step 11.5  Find some good audio stories or some favorite songs to turn on while you do steps 12-14.

Step 12.  Starting with the upper left corner key, pick up one of the squares you cut out and write the English keystroke on one side.  Flip it over and carefully write the matching letter in your second language.  Tape a small piece of scotch clear tape over the top of the letter so that it won’t smudge or get damaged when touched repeatedly.
first row

Step 13.  Tape one end of the key spring onto the back of the key, using the clear scotch tape,  and then tape (clear scotch tape) the spring onto the keyboard on the marked out space for that specific key.
[PICTURE]

Step 14.  Repeat step 12 and 13, trimming keys as needed (with the scissors) when they overlap slightly, until you have placed every single key on the board.

Step 15.  Find a large book (dictionaries do well, *especially* a dictionary in the language the keyboard is in) and carefully set it on top of the keyboard, making sure all of the keys are bent the correct way.
keyboard

Step 16.  Leave the book on the keyboard for a couple of days and then put the book back on the shelf and place the keyboard inside your binder.
keyboard

Step 17.  Use the keyboard whenever possible with all of the words you’ve memorized in the new language.  Keep a spelling/vocabulary list with the keyboard to help you out at first.
keyboard

Step 18.  Practice, practice, practice!!  The more you practice using your keyboard, the quicker you will become, and the better your brain will remember where each of the new letters are placed.

I used to take my Russian keyboard with me on long car trips (and even short ones!) and practice the handful of phrases I knew over and over again.  I was agonizingly slow at first, but after a bit of practice my fingers gradually learned where each new key was placed.  Practice keyboards can also be used at doctors offices while you wait in the office, or anywhere else where you have a couple of spare minutes.  

Eventually you will find yourself mixing up your new language with your old one, at least, if you pick Russian.  It can be challenging with some languages (Russian) because so many of the letters look similar to ours (English).  I am unable to type any English words in Russian (transliteration) or vice versa (Russian words in English letters (transliteration)).  I can translate, and type English in English, or Russian in Russian.  But I cannot cross over or my brain becomes very, very confused.  

Although I have not yet memorized my Arabic keyboard, I’m hoping it will not confuse my brain as much as the Russian one did.  After all, none of the letters look anything like ours.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please comment!  I’d love to hear what you do with it. 🙂  Of course, as my mom says, only one in a million would even spend time on a project like this (and enjoy it!).  😉  If you happen to be one of those people, please do leave a comment!  I love to hear from ‘kindred spirits’. 🙂

Remember that the whole point of making this keyboard is to help you memorize the keys.  Once you’ve done that, you will no longer need the keyboard.  I’d suggest you then pass it on to someone who will use it and learn from it.  I can now type around 50 to 60 wpm (words per minute) in Russian.  Speaking of which… I should find someone to give my Russian keyboard to.  Пока!

~

~ Measurements ~

Keyboard: 10 cm by 28.5 cm

Keys:  2cm by 2 cm

Key Springs:  1  & 1/3 cm by 3 cm

First row of keys (l to r):   2 cm by 13  +  2.5 cm x 1

Second row (l to r):  2.5 cm x 1  + 2 cm x 13

Third row (l to r):  3.5 cm x 1  +  2 cm x 11  +  3 cm x 1

Fourth row (l to r):  4.2 cm x 1  +  2 cm x 10  + 4.3 cm x 1

Fifth row (l to r):  8.5 cm x 1  + 11.5 cm  x 1  + 8.5 cm  x 1 

Sailing in Spanish Waters!!

For my final semester of highschool I joined a Spanish 1 class!!  I was very excited to learn the basics of a ‘new’ language (new to me, that is), and jumped in with both feet.  I soon learned, however, that it was going to require a lot of hard work to catch up to the class (this was their 2nd semester).

Our teacher, Professora Amanda, is an excellent teacher!  She knows fluent Spanish as well as fluent English (her native language), so she is able to explain instructions in English if we don’t understand them in Spanish.  In the four classes we have already had, I have learned all the Spanish present tense nominative pronouns, a vocabulary of at least 40-50 words, and the basic sentence structure.

I also managed to answer “да” in class (Russian for yes), instead of saying “sí”.  Oops!  At my Russian class today, I was asked, “Что это?” (“What’s that?” – pointing at a cat).  I replied, “Это gato.”  (Это = Russian for the/it)(Gato = Spanish for cat).  =)  I was warned that I would mix up languages, but this has still surprised me a bit.

On a different day, we were asked to think of something that would help us remember the Spanish word.  Say, for example, dormir sounds like “dormitory” which is a place where you sleep.  The word “dormir” in Spanish means “to sleep”.  We went on down the list and came to “tuvieron miedo” which means “they had fear/they were afraid.”  I looked at it and called out that ‘vier’ in the middle of ‘tuvieron’ could remind you of the word four, which sounds like fear.  She looked over at me and said, “Yes, if you know German.”  Bam… there I go again, bringing other languages into the Spanish classroom!

Professora Amanda uses a site called Engrade to give out our homework, quizzes, and tests.  It is a really neat website that allows teachers to make their own curriculum, or type up curriculum that has already been created.  I am testing it out to see if I will be able to use it when I teach English.  So far it is looking like a really neat option!

If you are interested in studying Spanish on your own, or would just like to learn a bit about Spanish grammar and words, I highly recommend Señor Jordan’s Spanish Videos.  He has posted a multitude of well made videos which explain all the different parts to the Spanish grammar (in English!).

Each week, we read one chapter in ‘Los Piratas del Caribe y el Triángulo de las Bermudas’ escrito por (written by) Carol Gaab and Christine Tiday.  Click here to read more about it.

And one more thing, before I leave you.  There’s this hilarious youtube video (about 6 minutes long) about Dr. Evil and his Plan (El plan del Dr. Evil).  It is hilarious, and you will learn a couple of Spanish verbs while laughing at it!

¡That is all for now!  I hope my language adventures made you laugh, or at least grin a little. 😉  ¡I look forward to sharing more as I continue this trip!

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