March 25, 2014
Where does one begin a blog post after taking a six month break? With an explanation? An apology? A massive update?
How about with Berlin, since that was the topic of my last post. Tomorrow I am being flown to Berlin in order to meet with my professor, another professor, and De Gruyter publishers. We will discuss a forthcoming project. As my professor’s assistant, I am tasked with translating two seminal works about NT lexicography from Spanish into English. What follows is a summary of how this came about.
Our first year hear in Munich was coming to a close. I was trying not to grow anxious about my scholarship ending–I had not found a new source of funding despite several applications. But around August, all of that changed.
- I found out that I was accepted as an online instructor at Liberty University and would begin my first class in September.
- Then I was asked to serve as the academic tutor at our living residence in Munich.
- As if that weren’t enough, my professor asked if I would consider working as his assistant on a small scale beginning in September, and then on a larger scale in April.
- On top of this, I had already signed an agreement to publish a 50 page article on Bultmann.
- Lastly, I was completing an editing project with de Gruyter about Pneuma.
Needless to say, funding was no longer the problem. Now the challenge was finding time to complete all my responsibilities (oh, did I mention that I am writing my dissertation).
My professor had hinted about the possibility of working as his assistant. I had known about this since arriving in Germany, and I discovered that I would translate two Spanish books. My four years of High-school Spanish needed lots of refreshing, so I spent a lot of time in the past year working through grammars, listening to Spanish podcasts, and reading Spanish texts.
Hence, my six month silence. All of my various tasks and responsibilities are completed, my Spanish is in great shape, and I will be in Berlin again in the morning. More importantly, I have learned the value of saying “no,” even to good opportunities. One gets so busy that it becomes impossible to do things well.
I am being quite deliberate now with my time and schedule. Starting in April, I will just be working with my professor and writing my dissertation, which will hopefully give me some time to enjoy blogging more regularly.
My three-year old daughter began kindergarten in January. She spends four hours a day with her new friends. At first this was a big change for her, especially because she is immersed in the German language. But she is having a ball now and is learning the language very quickly.
Thanks to my jobs (mentioned above) my family was able to switch from private insurance to public insurance. We pay a minimal monthly amount, and all medical expenses are covered. Medicine, doctor’s visits, everything. I am a big fan of this medical system; it makes the American medical system and the new Obamacare seem quite comical.
In order to drive our car, we needed to pass a written test covering all the driving rules and regulations in Germany. Now we are well informed about environmentally friendly driving, how to tow a trailer in Germany, and even about migrating frogs (see picture). I will be taking my test in German on April 8. Here is a sample question for you: Vor einem Bahnübergang steht vor einer von rechts einmündenden Straße ein rot leuchtendes Lichtzeichen ohne Andreaskreuz. Wo müssen Sie warten? (“There is a light signal with the red light on and no St. Andrew’s Cross before a level crossing before a road joining from the right. Where do you have to wait?”)
And if you are a really astute reader, you may have suspected the next bit of news I’m about to share with you. Having told you about my job, our insurance, our car, we are now feeling prepared for . . . the baby girl we will be having in July! Arabella Rose Bowden is due on July 24th.
On a personal note, I turned 30 years old this month. On my birthday I reflected on these words from Ben Hur: “A man thirty years old should have his fields of life all plowed and his planting well done; for after that, it is summertime, with space scarce enough to ripen his sowing” (Ben Hur, 278).
TRAVELS, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY
In addition to our Berlin travels, we have been able to make some other trips. We visited new friends in Straßburg, France. You can read about our time HERE. Being around believing friends who are our age, have a child, speak English, and are living in a European city was quite a blessing. I particularly was blessed by Matt, who is memorizing large portions of the Greek New Testament. That is something I want to do more regularly.
Last week my cousin Nathaniel and his wife Julie visited us. One of our highlights was hiking on a trail above Neuschwanstein.
We had so much fun with them (Nathaniel and I are cousins. We are just a few months apart in age and have always been best friends). The nice thing about having family and friends visit us is that we do things we would not otherwise have done. Please come see us again soon guys!
There are two other big trips that we are looking forward to. In April we will travel to Prague, and in May to Paris (Lord willing).
Well, I think that is all for now. I look forward to continuing to keep in touch with you all, whether through blogging, facebook, or face-to-face if you get the chance to visit us in Munich.