Post Three

Ta da!  This is my third post and marks the longest commitment I’ve ever had to a blog to date.  It certainly wasn’t that big of a feat, but I somehow feel overly accomplished by this and my dreams of becoming a New York Times Bestseller by accruing a massive following in the digital space seem around the corner.  The fact that I currently have no followers seems unimportant.

  • Start a blog, create a basic posting schedule, and stick with it for the entire year.  You can get a free blog at WordPress.org.  One tip:  don’t try to write everyday.  Set a weekly or biweekly schedule for a while, and if you’re still enjoying it after three months, pick up the pace.  Cost: $0

I’ve noticed a few things about writing so far.  Firstly, I really enjoy it and have looked forward to doing it each week.  It doesn’t seem like a chore but rather something I sneak away to indulge in rather than study for my Nutrition class exam in the morning.  I find that when I first sit down to begin writing I really don’t know exactly what direction I am going to go in, but tell myself to just write.   I try to hold back judgment on the way in which my thoughts come out on the page.   It seems if I can just get something out, I can go back later and after looking it over, refine it in a better, possibly more concise, or thoughtful way.  In this process I become clearer on what I am actually thinking and what has been going on in my mind; in turn, I gain insights that I don’t think I would have come to without the act of writing.  When I am done writing and revising, I have this wonderful sense of fulfillment.  I feel more clear-headed.   I have a better sense of purpose and direction.  I feel like I used to feel after having a great performance (I used to be a professional ballet dancer), satisfied, self-expressed, and on a high.

  • Subscribe to a language-learning podcast and listen to each 20-minute episode, five times a week, for the entire year.  Attend a local language club once a week to practice.  Cost:  $0 + 87 hours.

For the past two Friday’s, I’ve arranged to meet with my mother-in-law (mi suegra), Gilda, to practice my very beginner Spanish.  I consider this as my once-a-week language club practice session.  At our first get-together, Gilda made two comments that stuck out:  1.  “You don’t learn language very well, do you?  2.  “You are making me work very hard!”  The following week on the way to her casa I was speaking with my mother on the phone and she commented, “I bet Gilda just loves that you want to practice with her.”  I told my mother I had hoped so, but I did in fact make her work very hard.  At our second session, Gilda started with, “Ok, let’s go.”  And then added the words I craved, “I was really looking forward to this.”

The thing about it is, if you asked me how long I’ve wanted to learn Spanish I would probably say “forever,” but that’s not true.  I’ve been together with my Spanish-speaking fiancé for ten years and I have lived in a Miami for twelve years, where almost everyone speaks Spanish.  Even though so many people around me speak Spanish and I would love to communicate better with people while traveling in Spanish-speaking countries, I don’t think it dawned on me to really put forth the necessary commitment to learn Spanish until recently.  Yeah, I had taken a once-a-week, beginner Spanish class at the Jewish community center for a few weeks a decade ago, some co-workers had taught me how to say a naughty little phrase to my man, and I could say “sleep with the angels” in Spanish before going to bed, but I had resigned myself to being too audibly challenged and kind off tossed it off as something I would likely never become proficient in.  The thing about it is, I had come to this conclusion with ever really trying.  Yes, I had bought a nock-off of Rosetta Stone that seemed quite effective, but I didn’t stick with it.

Recently, I decided I needed something that would force me to stick it out.  This fall, I enrolled in Spanish at my college, where I attend four days a week.  I don’t drop classes, I don’t miss classes and I don’t get B’s, so I thought this would force me to get out of my comfort zone as well as stick to a program.  Adding Monday through Friday Spanish-learning podcasts, weekly practice sessions with my mother-in-law, and initiating more Spanish speaking with my fiancé is giving me small victories that encourage me to continue on.  I have even shared with my ballet students that I am learning Spanish and it is fun to see their excited responses and eagerness to help me.  I am getting to connect with my mother-in-law, fiancé, friends and classmates in a new way which not only improves my Spanish but is helping me stick with it.

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