Ziphen Central

Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

How to Learn to Speak a Language

Did you know that you can learn to speak a language in only three simple steps? As a language nut myself, I’ve learned a few things about learning languages, and I want to share those with you, the aspiring language learner. I won’t call these “secrets,” because they’re hardly hidden, but I would guess that a lot of people have overlooked them.

I know you’re dying to know what the three steps are, so before describing them in more detail, here they are:

  1. Study.
  2. Practice.
  3. Repeat.

Well OK, I guess it’s more than just three steps when you start iterating on #3, but you get the point. Learning a language can be boiled down into these three parts, and if you leave out any one of them, you’re bound to be disappointed. Now then, let’s look at each one in detail! (keep reading)

Posted on 13 February 2015 by Mashkioya
Filed under: language,wisdom

Who Are You Going to Call First?

forebodingcastle

Everything seemed to be going according to plan. We had finished worshiping with the church in Dublin, caught the city tram, taken the train down to Cork and made it to the airport in good time. By this time my sister and I fancied ourselves old pros at flying, and as we found our gate and heard people around us talking in Spanish, I was daydreaming about how nice it would be to arrive in Spain. Ah, the sunny homeland of my second language—I couldn’t wait to get there! And yet as we stood in line to board the plane, I was suddenly brought back to reality.

“I can’t let you on” the stewardess said, after looking at our boarding passes. We were incredulous. Whatever had we done wrong? “You didn’t get your passports checked, so I can’t let you on the flight.” We frantically asked if there was time to run back and do that before the flight left, but there was no way—by that time the Ryanair plane would be well on its way, aiming to land ahead of schedule amid classical music and applause by the jostled passengers.  (keep reading)

Posted on 10 January 2015 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Christianity,Ireland

It’s All About Love

When I was younger, I was embarrassed by love. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my parents and they loved me more than I knew, but whenever it came to romance, love songs, and even the word “love,” I would have nothing to do with it. I can’t say entirely why–my parents made sure I knew that at my age I had no business getting into romantic relationships, and the time when I could was so far ahead I couldn’t even imagine it. But looking back, it seems rather silly, because now I realize that love is the main purpose of my life. I may not be married or have a girlfriend, but the more I think about it, love is behind most of what I do, or at least it should be.

Why do I go to Truth For The World every day and work? Because I love the people in the world who are lost and need the gospel. Why do put in hours of study to prepare sermons and Bible classes? Because I love my Christian family and want to give them something they can learn from. Why do I take time to pick out songs and lead them in the worship assembly? Because I love the Lord and His people, and want to help us all worship Him in one mind as one body.
(keep reading)

Posted on 8 November 2014 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Christianity,wisdom

Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Church of the Holy Trinity

Go to photo album

Along the River Avon in eastern England lies a peaceful town called Stratford-upon-Avon, presumably given that name to distinguish is from other, less interesting Stratfords, such as Stratford, Texas. (I am joking, of course!) I got to visit this town when I was in England four years ago, and took some pictures, which I you can see in the linked photo album. Stratford-upon-Avon is best known as the hometown of William Shakespeare, and we got to visit his birthplace, as well as another house he lived in, if I remember right (I hesitate to make any definitive statements about Shakespeare since I have forgotten most of what I learned that day). We also visited the “Church of the Holy Trinity” which houses Shakespeare’s tomb, over which this interesting rhyme is placed:

Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosèd here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

I don’t know that Shakespeare himself wrote the rhyme, but so far it has worked! Some less prestigious souls were buried outside in the churchyard, making for a very interesting place to explore indeed.

One thing I noticed in these old buildings was that the doorways were often quite low. Apparently people back then were shorter (or at least shorter than me) and they’ve even had to put a warning sign on a lintel in one house that says “Mind your head.” All this and more you can see in the photos. Enjoy!

Go to photo album

Posted on 9 October 2014 by Mashkioya
Filed under: photography,United Kingdom

Living the Dream

Samaras

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost two years since I graduated from college, packed my earthly belongings in the back of my pickup (at least the essential ones), and was transplanted in the faraway state of Georgia. This new life has had its ups and downs, and I certainly haven’t accomplished everything I would like do have done by this point, but overall it’s been pretty great.

One thing most people don’t know is that living in Gwinnett County, Georgia was a dream of mine. I’m one who often daydreams, and before I even sent in my résumé for a job that didn’t even exist yet, I was dreaming about how cool it would be to live in this area. I was looking up potential places to live, and the nearest places to hike. I was enchanted by the thought of living somewhere where Korean is a major language, where there are numerous pine trees even in the city, and where there was a loving congregation of the Lord’s people. I thought about all the things I would do if I had a place of my own, and the new friends I would make. I loved the thought of having a job that would align with my degree, but yet be entirely dedicated to the Lord’s work. And although I certainly haven’t taken much advantage of it, one of the major selling points was knowing that the mountains were less than two hours away!

Whenever I dream of possibilities, I get excited, so it was no surprise that I thought nothing of jumping in the car and making a weekend trip down to Georgia just for an interview. And great was my joy when I was offered the job, and had two job offers to choose from! After much deliberation (I am the one who had full intentions of returning to Texas after college) I turned down the other job offer, accepted this one, and spent a full week (!) at home after graduation before pursuing my dream.

The reason I’m recounting this now is because I need a reminder. Even the most thrilling life becomes humdrum after a while, and I’ve felt down and without motivation more times than I’d like to admit. So maybe I need to renew my outlook on life, reminding myself how special my current situation truly is! There is no need to long for things that are not mine, or feel burdened by responsibilities.

God has put me in a place full of opportunities, and I’m living the dream! It’s time to take advantage of it and fully enjoy where I am in life, and I encourage you to do the same. There’s no harm in dreaming of future possibilities, but don’t do it so much that you lose sight of where you are right here, right now.

Posted on 5 May 2014 by Mashkioya
Filed under: Life updates,wisdom

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