becoming an expat

Yoda's Advice for Learning a Language.

A very wise, little green alien once said to a pupal learning an important lesson, “Do or do not, there is no try”. A valuable lesson for all, but especially for those trying to learn a new language. You have to work at it, otherwise you will never really become fluent.

So often, I find myself telling people that I am trying to learn to speak Nederlands. What I really mean by this is that, I study when I want to. I study when it is convenient for me, but I don’t devote near enough time to it as I should. Needless to say, I haven’t learned an impressive amount in the almost 5 months I have been here. According to an interview by Suitcase Entrepreneur of Benny from Fluent in 3 Months, most people have trouble learning a language because they are lazy about it. I can definitely see his point. I have been lazy, and my progress has suffered.

So how do I, and other language learners remedy this situation? Here are some of my ideas to get on track with language learning.

  • Have a clear, realistic goal in mind. My current goal is to finish the Rosetta Stone by June 1st, which means I need to do a lesson a day. About 2 ½ hours.
  • Have an hour reserved each day to devote to hearing/ speaking nothing but Dutch to my fiancee.
  • Spend an hour each day on grammar workbooks.
  • Have a defined daily schedule, keeping in mind the times that I know I am most productive. For me that is from 10am to 12:30 and again at 4:30.
  • Watch more Dutch films, people quote movies all the time, I might as well be quoting Dutch ones.
  • Have an accountability partner, someone who you won’t lie to that can hold you accountable for learning.
  • Treat my language learning like a job. I was always much better about showing up to work than I was to class. Since I don’t work, I will now treat learning Nederlands as my current career.

In case anyone was wondering, I did Level One, Unit Two, Lesson Two this morning.

Any language learners out there want to share their suggestion or tips for learning a new language?

 

The Beautiful and The Damned

I love living with The Verlo- everyday is filled with love and laughter, and it is amazing to finally after four years live with the one I am supposed to be with. I also love where we live. We live in a section of Utrecht called Leidsche Rijn. It is an up and coming area, within biking distance of the city center, but with a I can be in the country in minutes feel. It is also right next to a park, where ruins of a castle that predates when the Romans invaded Utrecht. The ruins were part of the reason I was so excited to live in this community. Those who know me personally know how much of a history buff I am.

This however, has proved to be a curse, rather than a blessing because, I fear our apartment was built on the ancient burial grounds of the castle. Just too many weird stuff happens in this house for it to be pure coincidence. For starters, almost all of our electrical items have either not worked at all since we have moved or have just gone out. Loek's computer, our stovetop, and last night our washer broke and flooded our storage room. And you know that beautiful wallpaper my future inlaws put up for us? It is all peeling and falling down. They are not amateurs either. It is simply to strange and upsetting for words. We  haven't been able to hang up any overhead lights because we can not drill into the ceiling to attach them properly. Loek even got mildly electrocuted.

I know that I must sound like a lunatic, but I really believe this house has some bad cosmic energy. If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve the chi of our home, I am up for suggestions.And, in case you were wondering, I still love living in The Netherlands.