Well, I reckon it's somewhere between not "great" and "alright".
📺 Previously: Updates from the 1/2 down the line
🤦♀️ Speaking permalink
I'm skipping the self-assessment bit for this month because I have no idea where things are at at the moment. Some days (moments) I'm just brilliant, and I get it all, and then other moments (days) I am committing the same stupid error for the 100th time, and everything is just so hard and slippery...
My speaking, obviously, is still the worst, although I haven't had many opportunities to do much writing yet, except for the occasional text exchange between the wife and I with the likes of (and this is paraphrasing): Where is food?
So what I've been focusing on most this past month (and it's so hard!) is slowing down. This means thinking before speaking (I know, kind of obvious, no?) and not feeling rushed when I do speak. Has it worked? 90% of the time, no 😊, But 10% of the time, I do manage to say something coherent.
I've also started having conversations with myself, imagining different scenarios, and practicing "now, how would I say this in Spanish? 🤔". Or I would take a moment and prepare a sentence or a question in advance so that when I do eventually come out with "the kitchen is on fire!" it does come out with the perfect grammar. 👍 (muy importante)
🦉 Duolingo permalink
I'm still doing Duolingo every morning for about 30-40 minutes, but since I've finished all the Stories (aka easy points), I'm now only doing around 100 points per day. The content is also getting more difficult, and the sentences are getting super long a la: Give him the book that we bought yesterday at that market but don't give it to him today. Yes, we get it Spanish; pronouns are hard!
More specifically, I've just finished checkpoint 6 out of (currently) 9. I originally thought there were only 7, but once I finished checkpoint 5, more levels automagically appeared.
So now I have no clue and am collecting predictions: which one will finish first, my affair with Duolingo OR, the pandemic (for simplification purpose: travel without restrictions)?
OR! Neither of them will finish and this is it, this is my life? 😳
🎧 Podcasts permalink
I've been listening to lots of slo-mo Spanish: first, Notes in Spanish (around 40 episodes 10-15 minutes each), and now Spanish obsessed (I'm currently level 22/34). Both podcasts have similar formats: a British guy and his co-host (a Spanish mujer in one case, a Colombiana in the other) discuss stuff in Spanish.
It rather concerns me that dudes are still making a bunch of mistakes when speaking (even after having lived in Spain for years), but I guess it's cool that I'm making the exact same mistakes now...
(this sentence is interrupted by my wife coming over to show me that she made tofu and that said tofu is "mucho mas cremoso que el otro" 🤷♀️)
...anyway, I guess it's comforting that I'm making the same mistakes as those advanced speaking-level dudes. Or is it? 🤔
📚 Books permalink
I've read lots of books this past month, most of them in Spanish.
- Deep Work (Cal Newport) - good stuff, gave me some nice ideas on how to change the way I work and be less distracted (and be hopefully less tired)
- Digital Minimalism (Cal Newport) - some nice ideas about how to organize your (non-work life) better
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK (Mark Manson) - on how to let go of things and focus on things that you care about most.
- I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman (Nora Ephron) - very funny and clever, but also kind of sad. I probably missed out on a bazillion of jokes but still really thoroughly enjoyed it.
- Without Blood (Alessandro Baricco) - short, powerful, can be read in one sitting, and then you're just "Bam, was it though, without blood?"
- Silk (Alessandro Baricco) - beautiful, but I'll have to re-read it. There was much eye action and subtitlies, and I think I missed a lot of things.
You'll notice that there's quite a lot of non-fiction there, which is rather odd for me (I rather prefer reading fiction). The reason is that non-fiction is just easier to understand because the vocabulary repeats much more, the language is more straightforward, and you don't have to keep track of who else is left on the ship, who's going to die next, and who is the 🔪🔫🤮(poison) after all (👀 at you Agatha Christie).
📺 Netflix permalink
- Nobody Knows I'm Here (movie) - set on a beautiful, remote Chilean island Llanquihue (I want to go there!)
- Controlz (series) - finished! Meh.
- Cable Girls (series) - telephone operators, set in the 1920s. Good, but so much drama, everything is complicated, and every plan goes wrong. Very clear Spanish, though, so I think I might continue.
💡 Discovery of the month permalink
DeepL - like Google Translate, but better. You can install it locally as a macOS application and have it run in the background. It also comes with some nifty shortcuts, and so every time I copy some text and press
cmd + c + c (hitting the c twice), the text gets automatically copied into DeepL and translated. Pretty cool.
✍️ Plan permalink
Keep at it. Convince wife that eating more homemade Mexican food is ultra beneficial to my Spanish learning journey 🤔.
That's it. See you next month! 👋