The Exhaustion of Being Bilingual

When Billy and I were dating, we lived about an hour apart. Similar to many ooey-gooey couples, we spent a lot of time on the phone. A LOT.

If you've ever tried learning another language, you know that speaking your second language on the phone is infinitely harder than in person. (Whenever the phone rang when we lived in Argentina, I would basically scream and hide... so it wouldn't know I was there...)

Billy later told me how tiring those phone marathons were for him. He almost always collapsed into sleep seconds after hanging up.

These days, English is not really an issue for him, but heavily bilingual environments can still be exhausting for us all. The first day my mother-in-law arrived, she was talking to him in one ear in Spanish, and I was talking to him in the other in English.

The fact that he was maintaining both conversations is a pretty good indication of his bilingual superpowers. There was only one moment when he looked at me in the eyes and started talking right to me in Spanish. I was all, "Umm.. do you hear what you're saying to me right now?"

But I was super impressed with my mother-in-law because I know first-hand how tiring it can be to stay in a home of your second language. In fact, I've often thought, I bet my in-laws think I'm a very slug-like person because I'm always tired with a glazed over look. But it's only (well, mostly) because the little hamster in my brain is running so fast, trying to follow conversations and think of responses.

I assume that one day (if I ever become more fluent in Spanish) some of the exhaustion will dissipate like it did for Billy. Is that true? Do you share this bilingual exhaustion? 

Image credit: Umberto Salvagnin - And, oh my word, am I into cat photos now? 

What Evangelicals Think About Immigration: The Good, The Bad, and The Cray-Cray

This week I tuned into a webinar hosted by the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders advocating for immigration reform consistent with biblical values. The focus of the webinar was a report recently released by LifeWay Research. (What up, Beth?)

Basically, the researchers polled American adults who consider themselves to be evangelical, born-again, or fundamentalist Christians. They used quotas to make sure the sample was balanced regarding gender, ethnicity, age, region, and education. And then they asked them questions about immigration.

The Good

Let's jump right into the positives! I was pleasantly surprised to read that more than half of Evangelicals believe immigration reform should establish a path towards citizenship. Actually, I say surprised. I was more like shocked.

I would never have guess so many folks would support a pathway to citizenship. In fact, when asked if they would support immigration reform that included both increased border security and provided a legalization process for immigrants in the US unlawfully, almost 7 out of 10 Evangelicals said they would support these combined reforms. 

Taking it even one step further, half of respondents said they would be more likely to support a candidate supporting these changes. Since the survey accounted for demographics, it's interesting to note that these responses were more likely to come from women, people in the Northeast, respondents age 18-34, and Hispanic or African American Evangelicals.

Finally, almost 70% of Evangelicals think it's important that Congress pass significant new immigration reform. I was encouraged by this stat (even though later data may indicate we don't totally agree on what that should be), and I hope elected officials will take note. They do not seem to think it's important at all.

The Bad

One article said it this way: 9 in 10 Evangelicals say Bible doesn't influence immigration views. Yeah, that's not great.

Influences that trumped the Bible included: immigrants you've interacted with, friends and family, and the media. Regarding the media, those age 65+ were statistically more likely to select it than those age 18-34. The 65+ group was also most likely to say recent immigrant are a threat to law and order, a threat to the safety of citizens, a drain on on economic resources, and a threat to traditional American customs and culture. So I think it's safe to say Glenn Beck is knocking it out of the park.

However, lest I paint the senior population in too harsh a light, those 65+ were also most likely to say its important Congress pass immigration reform. In addition, they were more likely to respond that they would support combined legislation that enforces border security and offers a pathway to citizenship and that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports such legislation.

But about the Bible. Only 21% of respondents said they have ever been encouraged by their church to reach out to immigrants. However, almost 7 in 10 Evangelicals said they would value a sermon on how biblical principles can be applied to immigration.

Surprisingly, even with the church never discussing the topic, more than half of Evangelicals say they are familiar with what the Bible says about how immigrants should be treated. The researcher said that this may be due to the "halo effect," where survey respondents don't want to "look bad," so they overstate their own knowledge on a topic. Or maybe, like me, they listened to a lot of Third Day. Whenever, I think of aliens, widows, and orphans, I think of Third Day.

The Cray-Cray

I think the hardest number for me to wrap my mind around was that 8 our 10 Evangelicals believe immigration reform should respect people's God-given dignity. I mean, I guess that's a high number, but who are these Christians who think we shouldn't treat people with basic respect and dignity?! Even more, only 7 out of 10 think immigration reform should protect the unity of the immediate family.    

The researcher made a comment about how polls reveal that about 7% of people believe the first moon landing was a hoax. He suggested there is a always a percentage of respondents who will simple not agree with whatever is being asked.

Okay. But you know where those fake moon walking people got on board? Immigration reform that respects the rule of law, guarantees secure national borders, and ensures fairness to taxpayers. 9 out of 10 Evangelicals support those criteria. I'm not saying those are necessarily bad, I am just saddened that Christians would value rules, security, and money more than people and families.

Resources For You

Overall, what stands out to me from this study, is that Evangelicals recognize that something needs to change regarding our immigration laws. And there is significant support for legislation that addresses current immigrants living unlawfully in the States beyond a simple "kick them out" mentality.

If you want to read LifeWay's full report, you can find it here. If you've like to watch the Evangelical Immigration Table's webinar on the data, the recording is available here. Finally, check out the EIT's resources for pastors and churches. They really offer some great videos, sermon guides, Scripture reading plans, and more that can help your church address the topic of immigration.

Which of these stats stand out for you? How does the data compare to your personal experience with Evangelicals on this topic?  

5 Family-Friendly Spanish Movies on Netflix

The summer is nearly upon us, and the TV is always with us. I mean... oh, never mind. Yep. We love a family movie night!

With my mother-in-law in town, I've been reminded how difficult it is to search for Spanish-language programs on Netflix. So I've compiled a follow-up list to my holiday edition of Spanish kid movies. Here are 5 family-friendly movies you can watch in Spanish on Netflix.

101 Dalmatians

Oh, those adorable puppies! This is probably the first one I'm going to convince Gabriella that we should watch.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

We tried to watch the first one because we heard there was a Guatemalan character, but a power outage thwarted our efforts. We'll have to try the sequel!

The Smurfs 2

If you are allowed to watch the Smurfs, then you can watch them in Spanish. Ha! Apparently, sequels are big in Spanish, though.

The Great Mouse Detective

Seriously. A crime-fighting mouse? Who could ask for more?


The caption reads, "delinquents are forced to dig holes every day as a character-building exercise. But what's the real reason for the digging?" Well, now I have to know.

If you need a quick refresher on how to change the audio on these movies, it is a little different on each device. First, though, you have to select the movie that you want to see. You cannot change audio on your profile or device in general. It's done inside each, specific program.

Then, you look for the menu called "Audio & Subtitles." It's there that you can make the switch and get started!
Can you get your kids to watch movies in Spanish? What are some of your go-to flicks?

A LIFE WITH SUBTITLES. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.