I am considering doing something a little bit different. I am thinking about “living out.” What’s that? Well, I’ll explain it in this column.
As anybody who reads this column regularly knows, I have been studying Bisaya (the local langauge where I live) for some time now. I started studying in August 2007. I am getting pretty good now at using the language, and I enjoy it. Being able to communicate in Bisaya has made my recent trips around Mindanao much more enjoyable and interesting.
So, what exactly is “living out” and what does it have to do with language studies? Living out means that you go somewhere out in the Province – up in the mountains, away from the City, or whatever – and you live there for a while. The minimum that you need to stay “out” is one week. You can stay longer, but if you stay for less than a week, it really doesn’t offer much benefit. You don’t want to live in the City, because people in the Cities hear too much English, and they can get by on English. You want to be around people who can’t speak English at all, if possible, so that you must use your language skills to communicate with them.
Living out is something that is encouraged by my Bisaya teacher. She mostly teaches Missionaries, not just lay people like me. The Missionaries that she teaches are required to live out as part of their training, although I am not required to do so.
In addition to language use, you culturally try to live in the Filipino way. You eat the foods that they eat. You live your life just as they live theirs. I believe it is something that would be difficult, but also very rewarding.
Living out offers you a few benefits. Firstly, it is meant to help you gain a better grip on the language, since you are dealing with native speakers of the language, and you are not allowed to speak in English. The area where you would go is so remote that there probably isn’t much English spoken or understood there anyway. The second big benefit of living out is the cultural understanding that you could gain. Because you are totally immersed in the culture, and you are going to live your life in an identical way to what they do, you can’t help but learn a lot about their way of living.
This is something that I have had an interest in for some time. I didn’t relate it to my language learning, but a while back, Bebe (my teacher) brought this up to me, and said that it was at this time in my learning that I would do this if I were a Missionary. I have told her that I think I’ll do it anyway, just for the things that I’d learn in the process.
I think that going on such a “retreat” would also make for some very interesting things to write about on my various websites. Can you imagine some of the stories that could be told about the process?
Where would I go on this retreat? Well, that is kind of up to me to choose. I am thinking that I would like to go live with somebody up in the mountains of Bukidnon. Why there? Because it is quite cool up there, and I know that I won’t be allowed to have any air conditioning, and probably not even an electric fan, so Bukidnon would be comfortable for me. Also, it is a place that I love a lot. Another thing that I have been thinking about is that I would like to live with a Muslim family for a week, because I believe that the cultural experience and the learning would be fantastic. There aren’t many Muslims in Bukidnon, though, so that might rule out going there. It’s hard to decide where to go.
Of course, the process right now is that I need to make a final decision on whether I want to go there and do the “live out” thing. I am already about 80% sure that I want to do it, though, so I am well along the way to making that decision. Next decision is to decide where I want to go for the week. Third decision is to do some searching and find a family that would be willing to take me in for a week, make sure that it is a safe place, and a family that can be trusted, etc.
This is something that I want to do, though… and I’m kind of excited about it.