B is for Belly Button…well, and for my belly in general. You might start thinking, “Really, all she seems to talk about is being pregnant.” Well, actually, I talk about it probably every day, multiple times. Here, it’s like a giant magnetic sign that says, “Look at me! If you didn’t already notice that I’m quite tall, I also have a large belly and a very prominent belly button for you to look at!” Everyone from cute little grandmas, to random people riding on the their bikes usually take an look at me waddling down the street.
But, I cannot tell you how much I am thankful for my belly. Besides the fact that it contains a spunky little miracle, it is the easiest and safest topic of conversation! I can actually say quite a bit about my belly and answer most questions about it! It has allowed me to feel like I can say something without having to guess what subject might pop up.
Having scenarios that repeat themselves is a great way to learn language. At this point in our language study (Stage 1), we are learning lots of words about things that are common and familiar, which actually gives us words to use in those repeated scenarios.
Every weekday our house helper cleans and cooks, which provides repeated questions and similar conversation topics (like when we find lizards or bugs or when she asks what time we will study). She is by far my best language helper because she talks to me all of the time!
Another way we repeat scenarios is by frequenting the same fruit stand or other little shop where you have to ask specifically for things.
Speaking of bellies, my doula said it would be good for me to drink young coconut water since I was getting crampy legs at night. I’ve probably bought 7 or 8 coconuts worth in the last month–so delicious and cheap here! But, here’s how this fits into language study and repeat scenarios:
First time: Someone took me and I listened and asked to take pictures (follow the process in the pictures below). I also answered the standard belly questions. I also understood that if I was pregnant, I should not order coconut water with the fake strawberry syrup in it! 🙂 Surprise, eh?
Second time: I managed to get two coconuts worth put into bags (everything here comes in a bag!). I also found out it ferments pretty fast and does not taste good after only a day or so, so I needed to find a different way to order it. I happened to see a lady take a whole one home that was ready to be opened, but hadn’t been fully punctured.
Third time: I needed to get one in a bag and one “to go.” A friend drove me, so she helped with the phrase “Not yet opened” and we managed to get what I needed. I also heard a little more about how it was very cleansing for me and the baby. Plus, I heard the word for “healthy” for probably the 15th time (usually on walks or other times when people talk about my belly) and it finally got stuck in my brain! Side note: the word for onion took me about 15 times too. Some words just don’t stick well!
Fourth time: I ordered one in a bag and one to go without much trouble…partly because they remembered me. I also used the “not yet open” phrase that I had learned last time. I also felt safe enough to strike up a conversation about the baby and where we lived and what we were doing here with the little older lady who asked me one question. I just kept trying to use what I knew I could say while I waited for the coconut water. I also understood when they told me to put it separate from the other coconut or it would pop open the bag.Fifth time: I wanted only one in a bag, but not one for later, which of course threw off what they were expecting, so I had to be sure I could explain.
I also used the pictures I took that first time to learn the words for machete, pouring, cutting, etc. Later (Stage 2), I can use the pictures to help me talk about the process while using full sentences.
Sometimes the words we learn aren’t really common and familiar and I wonder why those manage to stick after only hearing them once and not the ones I need for everyday conversation! Of course I can recall the words for brining and pickling that I picked up yesterday from our house helper, but not the word for reading or yelling. That’s just the way it goes 🙂 The pickles were delightful though…and one jar is almost gone!