Saturday, January 21, 2017

6: meta

Wow, not a lot of time to write. I need to get to bed.

So, this week was really, really successful. I feel really happy with my progress learning Czech. I had like, 8 speaking appointments this week, which was really a lot!

I started with my long time contributor Tomáš. If you are reading this blog, which would be like, one or two people somewhere out there on the interwebs, you might be wondering why he suddenly seemed to drop off the face of my blog, because he doesn’t comment anymore. Well, he actually has been collaborating with me in google docs, which is a much better place for pinpointing problems and creating follow-able threads and subthreads. Anyway, Tomáš has been my collaborator and friend for several months now, and I got to skype with him. So that was really cool. I was super surprised at how nervous I was; probably the jitters were because it was in the middle of the night my time (we had a public holiday on Monday, and this is like the only time possible to skype, and I really wanted to “meet” this mysterious helper, so I sacrificed my sleep for it.) It was kind of dumb to feel nervous, because it went great. I was extremely surprised that I could understand some of (and even quite a bit of) what he was saying when he spoke Czech. Now, if only I could communicate back...well, we’ll keep working on that. Someday Kate!

Not enough time to write about the other really interesting, fun people I’ve been meeting and skyping with. But mainly I meet this people through this site called lang-8. It has proven to be really useful and fun.

Later this week I FINALLY GOT TO SKYPE WITH ROMAN! He is one of my favorite people alive, my fifth cousin in Řepiště. My dear, dear friend who found me way back in 2012 online. It is really lucky for me to have such an awesome (very distant) cousin - especially one who was willing to drive with me and Danny 3 hours to Poland to look in that archives - which was CLOSED ugh - it was really fun to skype with him.

So far, I have played this game three times with Czechs, and they seem to think it is hilarious. It is really helpful to me, though. I should come up with a  good name, maybe, “Name that name!” They give me a name in 1 pád, I give it back in 5 pád. It is deceptively difficult! Some names really don’t follow the pattern. And some names, I really just can’t tell if they are male or female. And then there are names like Anna, where it is just really unfortunate that her first name is “Yes.” It was so fun to play this with Roman. He used his calendar and found the name days - some of which were extremely obscure and no kind parent would ever name their children - and it was really fun.

Mostly, it was just so nice to see him and realize that he still exists, and my trip to the Czech Republic was not a dream. I really, really love knowing that.

I made some changes to the way I read the news: basically I have to print it. I know that’s kind of a waste of paper, but if I don’t, I’m just way, way too tempted to use a translator, and that’s not helpful. I’m surprised at how much I can figure out. I’ve also decided for the time being to explain what I think is going on in English. I need to get more diligent at doing this daily; not only will it help a lot, but it is also a really interesting way of learning new things about Czech culture and current events. And sometimes my current events too, haha.

I really have to go to bed. I think the secret to successful language learning is directly linked to anxiety and stress. Guess what, I feel a lot less stressed when I get a good night’s sleep. I had a full week of English classes this week (teaching Chinese students English online with this really cool company called VIPKid.) I love this job so much. I cannot even really express in words how much fun I am having with being back “in the classroom” again. I think that the part of my brain that I really enjoy exploring and using is my intuition, and this is exactly what the foreign language classroom is about. Plus, it is really fun to be on the teaching side. I think it builds my confidence for learning Czech, in a way. It also helps me empathize deeply with my Czech friends who are English language learners. Beyond that, it is helping me earn money to be able to fulfil my dream of returning to Czechia this summer. Maybe I will get to spend more than 1 very nauseated day in the archives this time, eh? Aughhh that would be so great.

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