Aprovechando “Me” Time

About 4 years ago I really started to understand and know Spanish. I was living in Texas, just north of “Piedras Negras” in Eagle Pass. I was serving as a missionary there for my church and going out everyday to teach people the gospel, and considering the short distance to Mexico I had more than ample opportunities to speak Spanish. In fact, I went for weeks not really speaking any english to others for considerable amounts of time.

As I was thinking today and reflecting a bit on my week and this past month the verb “aprovecharse” came to mind. It means “to take advantage of”, not in a violent or manipulative way but more like in experience and learning. To take advantage of a learning opportunity or a new job or a new experience or a special time in life. It’s important to really take advantage of those moments and enjoy them.

More especially, I find it incredibly meaningful to give yourself sufficient “me time” to think and reflect on what decisions you’ve made, what goals you have in mind and what plans you have to achieve those goals. It’s rather easy to wake up too late, get lost in the hustle of life to get everything done that is asked of you and not take any substantial time to think and reflect on where you are at. No se aprovecha de su vida.

When I was down in Eagle pass I didn’t have a car and we rode our bikes around to see people and get to places. I had a nice blue commuter style bike that was rather efficient, but no amount of efficiency gets you over 115 degree weather. I was wet with sweat nearly immediately and soaked all day as we stood under the sun and spoke with people.

It was during this time that I was really focusing on getting better at Spanish, and figuring out how to understand others and have conversations with them rather than just nodding like I understood.

One thing that I struggled with was figuring out how to get my tongue to process and roll my r’s. The word that comes to mind immediately is “ferrocarril” which means “railroad or railway”. There was a big train that ran right through the middle of town, and thus we were always having to deal with the train.

But “ferrocarril” sounds really dumb if you can’t roll your r’s and say it correct. So does “guitarra” and any thousand others words.

So each day as we would ride our bikes around I would make some flash cards so I could practice, and I would repeatedly practice rolling my r’s with those words.

“ferrocarril”… “ferrocarril”… “ferrocarril”… “ferrocarril”…

So on and so forth, until I could repeatedly say the word efficiently each and every time. Then I would try and practice that word in conversation with others and eventually, slowly but surely I got them down to the point I felt confident saying them.

I used my bike time each day as a time to think a bit, to rehearse some things I was working on. I miss that bike time now, but still try to find time to have me time and be able to practice things or get better at them in my life. It’s important, and we need to take advantage of it. I’m more than positive that all the most successful people, especially the happy ones find time to improve themselves each and every day.

Aprovéchase su tiempo.

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