Language Evaluation

On Tuesday, we found out our evaluation would take place on Saturday. I had been so ready to have it over with I didn't even think I was nervous, but then I wrote it on the calendar and the stomach cramps began! We reviewed the material we would be responsible for with our language helper, and it seemed to go ok with him. We'd heard wonderful things about the woman who would administer the eval. And we were reminded several times: it's an evaluation, not an examination. Just to see where we are in language so we can plan for our future study where it's needed. Somehow that didn't calm my nerves any!

Saturday morning came and the kids had an uncanny way of knowing something was up. Could have been the terror in my eyes, I suppose, but regardless, they did everything possible to increase our anxiety level! After a rough morning of fighting and ignoring and pestering each other, we got them to a friend's house and we drove over to where our 'eval' would be. I burst into tears as soon as we drove up, despite my best efforts to keep it bottled up. Why do I have to be a stress-cryer???

I went first, and I held it together during the eval. She did a lot more role-playing than I was expecting, so I wasn't prepared for several things: 'lets say I'm a bus driver and you want a ticket to go to the lake--start talking' or 'I'm a plumber and you call me to see if I can fix a leak in your toilet'. Yikes! And then she asked me to pray, and let me tell you, it's not easy to pray in another language!!! It feels irreverent to stumble through prayer and say the wrong things to God, somehow! She also asked how I hired people (to hire= kulolemba) and I thought she asked what I did on Mondays (monday= lolemba)! It wasn't until later when I asked Chad why she picked Monday that I realized my error. I'm sure she was quite confused by my answer! =)

After it was all over I broke down again and cried for a good hour, with my brain reliving every question and what I said and what I knew how to say but forgot to use! I'm so neurotic that way. It comes from my desire to be perfect and to be in control of everything...a disastrous combination for learning a foreign language!!!

Our boss called not much later to say we had both passed with excellent scores: I've met the standard I have to have by the end of our first term, so I'm officially 'home-free' and Chad has just a little more to go (his standard is just higher--he's actually speaking much better than I am). The irony is that we should be excited, but we both know we're not speaking as well as we want to be, we can't communicate all the things we want to say, we can't follow a sermon in Chichewa yet, and so it's a bittersweet victory. Now the challenge is finding the time, the energy, and the opportunity to keep learning more, with our time at the Seminary (where the teaching is all in English) increasing.

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