New Year’s Resolution – 2013

We’re almost a quarter of the way through 2013 and I’m just now getting around to sharing what my resolution is… time is flying.  Many people knock New Year’s Resolutions but I, for one, actually enjoy them.  I have set and achieved many goals simply because the new year gave me a fresh start.  There have been at least five years I resolved not to drink soft drinks and I was successful each time I set that resolution.  I remember a near catastrophe at a McDonald’s early on in my “soft-drink resolution” years.  I wonder if my parents remember this: I think it was at Christmas-time and we were on our way to visit my great-grandmother and her side of our family.  At lunch I ordered water with my meal and, when I sat down and took a sip, the strongest flavor hit my mouth.  The restaurant had given me SPRITE!  I felt like I had wasted the entire year!!  My intellect told me that it was not a result of losing my resolve, but a simple mistake on the part of the restaurant.  I will never forget that moment, how crushed I felt to have made it almost the full 12 months.

This year, 2013, I have a different sort of resolution.  Let’s see if this picture will give you the answer:

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Matt gave me this card for Valentine’s Day and it was perfect.  It was not the last card in the store and he didn’t grab one and buy it without reading.

I have resolved to learn Spanish!

Here is my goal: By Christmas I want to be able to carry on a brief conversation in Spanish with a few people in my life who are already fluent in the language.

Here is my reason:  I knew when we returned from Germany I was going to have the boys restart their Spanish Rosetta Stone curriculum.  In selecting a foreign language for them to study, Spanish seems to be the most obvious choice, the one that will provide them with the most benefit in their lives.  I had purchased the program years before and had them work on this independently.  They did just fine, until they got past what I knew, and then I was of no use to them when they had questions.  This time, I’m staying ahead of them.  (Barely… one day I overheard Carson saying words I didn’t know yet, and it lit a fire under me!)

Here is my plan:  Five days a week I spend time dedicated to learning Spanish.  It’s hard (good grief… how many sentences can have some form of esta in them?!?) but rewarding.

Here is my admission:  I had a friend suggest that I write her a note in Spanish.  I told her that my note would be short as I can pretty much only tell her if the cat is on the table, under the table, near the house, far from the house, and I suppose I could change that to near the table, far from the table, etc… I don’t even have a cat.

Here is my encouragement:  I joke about the cat, but I really have learned a lot.  I’m crazily pleased when I hear Dora the Explorer say something in Spanish and I recognize the word she’s saying. The first time I heard her say “corren” I about scared Parker to death!  I wasn’t even listening to the show and I picked up a Spanish word!  It was so encouraging.

Here is my request:  I would love to hear your tips and tricks on how to learn a new language.  If you have any audio books in Spanish you recommend, I’d love to listen to them.  I’m listening to a podcast in Spanish (though it’s not really my favorite) and I have two apps on my iPhone to help me practice when I’ve got a few minutes to kill but am not at the computer.  I have tried to change the language on a few movies so I could watch them in Spanish, but honestly, I don’t watch movies often enough for that to be practical.  I think the most beneficial thing would be for me to have something on my iPhone, something that I could take with me in the car or on runs.

Here is my current status:  I just started Unit Three.

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So that’s it!  My big secret.  I’m excited about this journey and hope to be able to share more than just the location of a cat with you in about eight months!

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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6 Responses to New Year’s Resolution – 2013

  1. Yay! I’m so proud of your goals and your dedication to them!

    Since I have studied several languages, Spanish being my favorite and the one I have devoted the most time to, I might have a few tips.
    1. Translate your thoughts. When you’re thinking “Oh, I have to go put the dishes away”, take a moment, and try to think it in Spanish as closely as you can. Even if you can only do ‘put’ and ‘dishes’ in the beginning, it will help you relate the language to your daily life, and cement it in your brain a little better.
    2. “Hear” it. Even if you can’t give it all your attention and listen, have Spanish on in the background. Every DVD nowadays has a Spanish language track – listen to it instead of English. (Put on the English subtitles if you want.) And listen to Spanish music, news, and podcasts. It will give you a feel for the flow of the langage, and how the sentences and words pull together. That really helped me with my rhythm. Just knowing the words isn’t enough, you have to know where they go in the sentence.

    And I would LOVE to practice with you any time!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks! I can’t wait to get to where I can put my own thoughts into sentences. Right now I’m at the “one word at a time” translation phase.

      One thing I’m doing while doing Rosetta Stone is saying the phrases/sentences with the teacher, so instead of saying each one only once (as the student is supposed to do) I’m saying it two or three times. I feel like my mouth is getting more used to the words than it was in the beginning… if that makes any sense…

  2. Susan says:

    Hi Jennifer – I moved to Belgium and I took a course, 3 hours a day for about 18 weeks and was conversational – watching TV, reading simple books, etc. I do not have the discipline to do it on my own but there are many free language classes you can attend. From 3 hours a day to 3 hours a week. I still have a long way to go. The entire language program was another 18 weeks and I stopped because I just wanted to absorp now. The other thing I did was to watch Dutch TV with Dutch subtitles. It helped a lot! Because in the beginning I could only understand 20 percent of the show and I felt lost. Suddenly I realized I could read much better than listen and you are then learning the spoken language. Something much harder I think than reading from a book.

    • Jennifer says:

      Great tips. I bet where we’re moving (Texas) will have plenty of classes for me to take. This is something I have already told my husband I want to do when we get settled in!

  3. Joleen Hyatt says:

    I do remember that one sip of Sprite! So proud of you and ALL your accomplishments!

  4. Pingback: Happy 2014!! | thehamricks

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