Tag Archives: German

Post #40: Invest in Yourself

Welcome to the fortieth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #40: Invest in Yourself

The New York Times recently ran an article about the benefits of being bilingual:

“The collective evidence from a number of such studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks. These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another and holding information in mind — like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.”

I am awesome at remembering directions. If I have been there once, I can get back and get home. And I can speak a little German – enough to get by – but I don’t think I can really count myself as bilingual. Yet. But I have just started another session of German classes and this is just one of the ways I am investing in myself.

It's amazing what a cleaning work space can do for your enthusiasm for homework...

Invest in yourself: learn something new

Now is the time of year when a lot of the universities and colleges offer their summer (or winter for my Southern Hemisphere friends) classes. So invest your time in yourself: you are important and your brain is important. Why not take a class in something that has always interested you? From learning how to code, to parlez vous-ing Francais, to introduction to print making — the world is your oyster! Taking a class is a good way to meet people with your interests, to learn new skills and exercise your brain.

I have tended to get a little disheartened when I realize just how much I have to learn before I become fluent. Katja, my teacher, laughed at my impatience and said, “We’ll have you for another seven years, yet!”.

Seven. Years. That’s a freaking lifetime!

 My impatience gets the better of me. But, as the American says:

Is there anything else you’d rather be doing?

And the truth of the matter is… no. I am happy as pig in mud going to the Goethe Institut each week, and learning another language. The goal of being truly fluent in another language is much closer when I’m investing in myself. And that’s kinda exciting!

What is one thing that you’re doing to further yourself?

I love using Japanese stationary with strange English captions for my German notes.

Post #32: Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Welcome to the thirty-second post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #32: Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me

I could not exaggerate just how busy things have been at work, lately. I am feeling like I need both a personality transplant (it’s all work, work, work!) and to leave it all behind in favour of a beach in Thailand.

So here’s a few things you might not know about yours truly:

10. Next week, the Canadian and I are taking Lightsaber Choreography classes. That’s right. Lightsaber Choreography classes. How excited am I? This.

9. I am obsessed with puppies. Particularly black labs, dalmatians and greyhounds. I don’t love too many cats, but I am really nice to my landlady’s cat, Simone. She hisses at me every time I see her and has never let me pat her, but I’m still nice to her.

The best puppy in the world: Neo.

8. I take German classes, and really dig learning the language. I have a super teacher, Katja, who hails from Rostock and owns a black labrador. Sie ist super!

Ich habe studiert.

7. My drink of choice is Bulmers/Magners. When we were out in the Lower Haight this week, the American introduced me to their new pear flavour. And did you know that they’re coming out with a Berry version with a hint of peach? YUM!

Mmm... Magners Pear.

6. My special talent: catching flies and mosquitoes out of the air with my bare hands. It’s a skill that carries a lot of clout, particularly in Australia.

5. I love being outdoors, and exploring the city on foot. We walk almost everywhere. Each time we go wandering, we piece together a little more of the map of San Francisco.

Fort Funston

The view from Twin Peaks

4. Sometimes, I sit in the same seat on the same train on my way home from work. Occasionally, someone leaves little messages for me. The contents may be religious, but I still really appreciate it.

A little encouragement after a tough day. #thankyou

3. We live in a part of the city that doesn’t have any real supermarkets. So we do much of our food shopping at our local Walgreens where they lock random items in perspex cabinets. Toothpaste and instant coffee are under lock and key. True story.

Toothpaste is a big-ticket item in San Francisco...


2. I own ten coats. Yep, ten, and five of them are blue. It may sound like total overkill, but living in a city that requires specific layering techniques, I have grown accustomed to dressing accordingly. Each jacket has a specific function and temperature range. San Franciscans – who’s with me? But what I really aspire to either wear jeans, t-shirts and sneakers to work here in the city or wear cozzies and thongs to work in my beach-side bungalow in Thailand. A girl can dream…

This is what I wear to the beach in SF.

1. I like to take photos of vomit on the footpath. One of the best days to do so is just around the corner. Hello, St Paddy’s Day!

Aftermath of New Year's. "They held her hair, but not her feather boa..."

Post #14: Learning a Second Language

Welcome to the fourteenth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
Thanks to Rai for today’s topic. If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #14: Learning a Second Language

Taking language classes is difficult. I have had about a month off since my last class ended and already, I feel as though I’m starting right back at the beginning. Ah, shade. I find that I’m just not able to retain the words as easily as I used to. Perhaps this is what they mean about getting old…

But with the difficulty comes reward. It’s rewarding to learn new things, meet new people and string it all together. Eventually, I want to be able to converse in German. Why? Just cos. Learning another language and being bilingual is something that I have always wanted for myself.

I enjoy the structure, the sounds I am able to make. I get a real kick out of seeing German word constructions and in seeing what they call things, like die Fledermaus (the literal translation is a flying mouse → a bat). That’s just cool.

One of my favourite things when I meet people who speak other languages is to find out what their animals say: phonetically, English dogs say “woof!”, but German dogs say “Vof!” (and dear friends of mine who actually know how to speak German – please correct me if I am wrong!). It’s the small things like that I find interesting, and I think by being inquisitive, you gain so much. Plus, you look at things with a fresh (and different) perspective.

Do you speak a second language?
Do you have any tips you use to retain the information?

Making a Commitment to My Life List

One of my dreams is to live in Germany.

I adored taking German at school, and loved taking it at university. But it’s been a decade since any formal linguistic training, and I’m itching to get back to it.

[Source: me]

So I’ve made a commitment to improving my German because I enjoy learning, but also because I want to start making some of these Life List dreams happen! I have started learning through the Rosetta Stone program for German, and so far, we’re just covering stuff I already know. I’m interested in seeing if this Rosetta Stone is really as good as they say…

Who knows if I’ll ever achieve #20 and #21 on my Life List, but what’s the harm in trying?

[Source: me]

What is something you have always wanted? What are you doing to make that happen?

[Source: me]

Ich liebe die Prinzen!

So my husband has been holding out on me. I’ve been with him for half a decade  and he’s only JUST told me about Die Prinzen.

OH. DEAR. GOD.
I am in heaven. Words cannot express.

It more than makes up for missing Eurovision last weekend because of crappy US programming.

Ich liebe die Prinzen! Kissing is forbidden.