"My X-ray Vision is Gone!"

One time when my little brother Bronson (who is 7 now) was 5, he was sitting in sacrament meeting, under the bench, just thinking to himself. Suddenly, he sat up, turned to my mother and said, "My x-ray vision is gone!"

This was quite tragic for him because he has always (does he still?) considered himself a super-hero, and to lose his magical powers--even if it was only his x-ray vision--was traumatic.

After living and studying in Jordan for several months now (and with only 5 weeks left!), I feel as though my x-ray vision is gone.


When I was in the America, before coming on this trip, I listened to Dil and Kirk talk about how others had failed in this program. The way to success, according to them, was to not spend much time with Americans, tolerate hanging out with Arabs no matter how much you don't like them, live with an Arab family, eat beans every day for breakfast, and not spend very much time on the computer/email to your friends/family in America--as that won't really help you learn Arabic.

Gung-ho as ever and thinking I was a super hero, I tried this for a long time. On the weekends, instead of going to fun places with my American friends, I stayed with my Arab family and did Arabic things, like studying.

At the university, instead of spending time at the Language Center with the Americans and the Arabs who speak English, I spent my time with Arabs, speaking (and sometimes understanding) Arabic, for hours at a time.

As for internet/Skype time, well, I tried to keep it to a minimum.

And then, after several months of this, I fell apart. As Spencer told me yesterday, Dil's way and Kirk's way to learn Arabic is not my way. I went from one extreme to the other, and now I no longer want to be here, I no longer want to learn Arabic, and I hate Jordan.

Fun, huh?

The hours and hours spent reading newspaper articles about bombings and people killed and earthquakes and Palestine and talking to people in the streets and seeing their anger and hopelessness is really getting to me. It is affecting my dreams/nightmares and tearing me apart emotionally. And I am just tired of learning Arabic, especially since in nine weeks I will start learning Mandarin Chinese!

For those who don't study Arabic and don't understand how this could happen, reading this article about how most Arabic programs go will help you understand that I can only be a part of these depressing things for so long without feeling some of that depression and hopelessness myself. (For those who do study Arabic, I am curious to know your feelings and responses to this article.)

Anyway, I don't want this post to depress anyone--just warn those who come after from making the same mistakes I so carefully made.

The solution? I am still working on it. But yesterday, Spencer said, "You are more important than the program." So, for the next five weeks, I will keep that in mind. If those of you who have learned other languages have any suggestions, I would appreciate them!


The Paradox said...

No suggestions, just encouragement-YOU CAN DO IT!!! I HAVE FAITH IN YOU!!! :) You won't be left alone.

micah_shaw said...

Hello there,
My name is Micah Shaw. I am also a BYU student. You do not know who I am, yet I feel that I know you. You have served as my inspiration. I check your blog daily on your Jordan journey.

I cannot tell you what led me to find your blog for I do not know. I one day stumbled across "one lower light" blog and saw one blog titled "Arabic mission."

I began to read what you wrote. I was moved. I was touched. I was humbled. I had been led by my impressions to learn arabic and manderin and felt so very overwhelmed myself.

Then I began to read about your journey. I found strength in your writings.

You see I served a mission and was called to learn a language that I struggled with myself. There were days I didn't want to go. I had every reason to pack it up and go home. Yet I knew I was to be there, learning that language, struggling every day over it, and suffering along until I could finally master it.

No the program is not worth your own self destruction. My friend, if I may call you such. This hasn't beaten you. You haven't failed. Discouragement comes because you are succeeding or else why would the adversary work so diligently on you to bring you down. How could you have ever known the effect you would have on someone around the world who quietly read your blogs, gleaining encouragement with your every post.

If you are discouraged then you are succeeding in your arabic mission of influencing lives or else Satan would have no reason to work to get you to quit when you are so very close to your journey's end.

Take heart and know, you can get through this. When you can no longer stand, then it is time to kneel. Read your patriartical blessing for assistance. Then seek for a blessing from your branch president, from one of the missionaries there, or from your director, Spencer. This does not need to overpower you, overwhelm you, or break your spirit.

Again, how could you have ever known the influence you have had on a young girl studying at BYU right now.

God bless you my friend and He will.

breanne said...

Thanks Micah, the Paradox, and everyone else who reads my blog (you too, Chicken Dust :) for the encouragement. If you ever feel crazy enough to do this, let me know, and I will comment on your blogs too. :)

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