to learn a foreign language

“Stories can help us face the anxieties and uncertainties of being human. And the people who tell these stories can also challenge us, or inspire us, to learn again what it means to live in this world.

An 81-year-old Mexican writer, a literary luminary speaking English in her home country—and a young student who loves her—showed me what it means to speak with courage, to take a risk, to offer language to another as a gift.”

from:Swallowing Fear in San Miguel de Allende,TRAVEL STORIES: Kristin Van Tassel‘s ideal window for learning a foreign language closed over 30 years ago. Is there still time?

I’m still in my eCourse in university Spanish. I’m learning  little by little, inching my way.



Joy of learning

“My basic philosophy of teaching was straightforward and deeply personal. I wanted to teach the way I wished that I myself had been taught. Which is to say, I hoped to convey the sheer joy of learning, the thrill of understanding things about the universe…I wanted to restore the excitement—the active participation in learning and the natural high that went with it…”

-from The One World School House by Salman Khan, the Founder of Khan Academy

imagine the grass, the earth surface

“And under the earth’ surface is another world. Sometimes a grass stem would quiver and shake when no breeze was blowing. An inhabitant of the underworld was gnawing at its roots. There beneath the grass were dark corridors and vaulted rooms, and nurseries for the blind young. It was a dangerous world, that world of grass stems and underground passages. Its inhabitants had to be as wary as deer in the hills.”

excerpts from: November Grass by Judy Van Der Veer


I’m enjoying the book, November Grass, (only 192 pages). I have to postpone reading The Pillars of the Earth.

The temptation

“The devil also took him to a high place and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in an instant. He told Jesus, “I will give you all this authority, along with their glory, because it has been given to me, and I give it to anyone I please. So if you will worship me, all this will be yours.”-Luke 4:5-7

We have temptation like this often. Maybe not this magnitude but still a temptation.


“The essence of being grateful is accepting what is.  Obviously we are not just talking about saying “Thank you” – we are talking about that inner gesture, that inner attitude from which saying “thank you” springs when it is genuine.

That, of course, implies being in the now.   “What is, is always now,” as T.S. Eliot says so beautifully in The Four Quartets.  “The all is always now.”  That seems obvious, but it is very important to remind ourselves that All Is Always Now.  If it isn’t now, it is not.  It was or will be, but it is not.  Whatever is, is now.  So accepting what is means being in the now, and being in the now means dissolving the illusion of our little ego.  And that’s the goal of all practices!  When you’re in the now, this little “me” dissolves, because it feeds on past and future. ”