I went with memories of my stay in Portugal a few years ago fresh in my head: winding streets, cheap wine, beautiful scenery, absolutely roasting temperatures, and no idea how to pronounce anything. (Maybe this should really be its own separate blog post?) I can say this for Madrid at least: I found it to be less beautiful than Porto and Lisbon, but the people and the food completely won me over.
This is no means an exhaustive list of stuff you can try, or even the best or most-proven by research. But I’ve seen and tried a lot of stuff, both in language classrooms and on my own, and these are the things that I always wind up recommending because they worked for me. So, if you’re interested, have a read.
When I tell people I taught myself Korean, I normally get asked two questions: why, and how.
I tend to be a non-believer in the idea of setting resolutions at the beginning of every year, because really, if you care about something enough, you shouldn’t be waiting until the beginning of the year to actually take action on it. Yet there have been a couple of things that have changed recently in how I think about both the annual pageantry of setting resolutions, and about goals in general.
2014 was the Year of the Road Trip. I went on 5 of them, all of which were lovely except one (you’ll see why in a minute). Road trips teach you a huge amount about yourself, the country you’re driving through, and about people in general… and there’s no way I could include everything I learned on my various journeys in a single blog post. But on snowy, frigid days like this one, I find myself thinking back and quantifying a few salient lessons that are worth passing on.
One of the things that has made this trip particularly strange is that I have the benefit of seeing London again without actually living here anymore. As I’m constantly reminded of things I really miss, I’m also reminded on the less savory facts of life in London, and the ones I doubt I’ll miss as much when I’m gone. I’ll eventually do a list of things I love (and I really do love this city and owe much of my life to it) but I thought it would be more fun to start with the things I could do without.
Most people who don’t know me or my boyfriend well tend to treat our relationship as a modern Romeo and Juliet. We are star-crossed lovers from antagonistic countries locked in a power struggle, our families enemies of each other, forsaking our national loyalties to be together. I can tell you that it’s really not that dramatic; we get along very well. But there have been a few different perspectives that he’s exposed this relatively proud American to.