It’s another Tuesday morning and I’m battling traffic as I make my way towards Kaohsiung’s high court. Despite the noise and busyness of the city around be me, I am calm and relaxed as I routinely pull into the parking lot. Having lived in Kaohsiung for more than five years I am used to maneuvering through the city’s congested streets. It’s amazing that this once foreign place has become familiar and embraced as my home.
One of the reasons that Kaoshiung has come to feel like home is because of how accepting and friendly the Taiwanese people have been. My family and I have been blessed by friends and strangers alike, who have gone out of their way for us. My Tuesday morning class is no exception.
Being in a room full of adults who are eager and interested in learning, makes driving through Taiwan traffic on a Tuesday morning worthwhile. Their willingness to continually give up their lunch hour to spend time with me is humbling. It is also a pleasure because their considerate attitudes and lightheartedness cultivate a great learning environment. They are willing to adapt to, and embrace, the different teaching strategies that I come up with.
I feel that no matter which strategy I use, an individual’s level of success is determined by the effort they put forth. One must be willing to step out of his/her comfort zone and speak out. I believe the more often you speak a language, the easier it becomes. Similarly, the more you drive around the city and explore new areas the more familiar it will become. Getting lost once in a while is to be expected. You should not be embarrassed when you mispronounce a word to the point that it discourages you from continuing to learn. Mistakes can slow us down if we let them or make us stronger if we accept them. Learning another language has a funny way of humbling you. Just when you think you’re getting a hang of it and feeling somewhat confident, something happens and you’re reminded of how much further you still have to go and how far you’ve already come is lost in its shadow. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Keep a positive attitude and never give up.