Monthly Language Update – October 2014

We made it!

After a few weeks of chaos, followed by a 1500 km drive, and then some more (ongoing) chaos, we’re once again in Toronto.

In case you’re wondering, this is what the drive from Nova Scotia to Ontario looks like:



It’s strange to move from a monocultural village of 1800 to a teeming mosaic of 2.5 million. On our first night here, we went to our favourite congee restaurant and feasted on squid, tripe and stuffed tofu. The restaurant was packed. Through the roar, I could pick out the sounds of a half dozen languages: Mandarin, English, Cantonese, Tagalog, Russian, Korean.

Our small town in Nova Scotia wasn’t the best place for us. It was mostly monocultural. It was an hour and 45 minutes from the closest airport. Professionally, it was a black hole for me. But we were happy there, and we’d gotten used to the quiet of rural living. Now we’re adjusting to noise and traffic all over again.

But we’re glad to be home! This city is in our blood!

Spanish Update for the Month of October:

Honestly, I slacked off enormously in Spanish this month. I read En Llamas, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and I’m about half-way through the third Harry Potter book, although I haven’t picked it up in over a week.

Aside from that, I watched only two TV show episodes, listened to Buenos Días América a handful of times, and completed a grand total of two Skype sessions – both of them in the first week of the month. That puts me at only five hours of Spanish conversation in the past two months.

Next month, I want to focus on increasing my Spanish input: read more, watch more, listen more. I’d also like to complete at least four hours of conversation. I’m aiming for a time-based goal this month of an hour per day.

Tagalog Update for the Month of October:

Taking a step back in October was a very good idea. I focused on review for the first two weeks of October, and since then haven’t done much more than anki and memrise. But now that I’m getting settled in our new home, my motivation is starting to grow once more.

I’m planning on jumping back into Tagalog during the month of November. I’m giving myself the same time-based goal for Tagalog as for Spanish: an hour per day. I also want to take advantage of a semi-immersion situation and be brave when meeting Tagalog-speaking strangers. More on all of that in a future post!

Other Goals

While I do plan on working on both of my languages this month, there are also other things that I want to focus on. In November I need to…

  • Organize my house. We moved from a large house with lots of neat built-in storage to a not-so-large house with non-existent storage. All of our rooms are now packed tight with stacked boxes, and nowhere to put the stuff. Our furniture is too big. Even our fridge doesn’t fit in the hole beneath the cabinets. We have some major thinking, culling and organizing to do.
  • Move more and eat better. After losing my dog, I ate too much and walked too little. I feel unhealthier now than I’ve felt in years. It’s time for a change.
  • Find a job. I’ve spent the past three years teaching adult learners. I absolutely love it, but the pay is low and the professional development non-existent. I’d like to be a part of an educational learning community once again, so I’m hoping to return to French Immersion in the public school system.
  • Help train my in-laws’ new dog. They just adopted an adorable 5-year-old shih tzu who was sorely neglected. He has a great character, but he has a lot to learn – like how to walk on a leash and how to not poop in the house.

I guess all of that should keep me busy!

I hope you all had a great October! And I hope that November is even better!

14 thoughts on “Monthly Language Update – October 2014

  1. Mina

    Hi again, Stephanie,
    I had to laugh about your picture of what it looks like to drive in Nova Scotia. I have family who lives there. I drove from Portland,ME to Nova Scotia last year instead of flying that leg and, boy you could not have been more accurate! Trees, trees and more trees. Since I was by myself, I am very glad that I decided to stay the night in a hotel in Maine and drove through in the morning. However, it was fun listening to their public radio station which that day featured all kinds of stories about diverse cultures . Yes, it was a long drive, but in a way, it was nice.

    Like you have have also had the experience of moving from a big house to a small one. (Mmm, I think our couch is too big…) We did lots of downsizing, I had fun finding new items once the boxes were out of the way -which was no small feat! Anyway, I hope you enjoy your new home and re-acclimate to the noise!

    1. Stephanie Post author

      Trees and rocks and trucks – that’s pretty much all you see when driving East! Haha! Lots of beautiful views, but a lot of nothing in between. I drew that (artistic genius-like) representation after my first drive to NS – a drive that we repeated a total of 8 times over 3 years. Ugh. You must have been listening to CBC radio – lots of good shows on that station! You can listen to CBC online. And – if you’re learning French – the French version is Radio Canada. Thanks for the good wishes – as it stands, I have way more stuff than space to put it in. But we’ll get organized eventually! (song about rocks and trees and canadian road trips by the comedy music group The Arrogant Worms)

  2. Cat

    Congratulations on the new house! I feel you…I moved to a new house in July and I still haven’t unpacked a lot of boxes. I simply do not have the space for all my crap, I mean, things. But good luck to you!

    The shih tzu sounds adorable 🙂

    1. Stephanie Post author

      The shih tzu is adorable! Moving is a pain, isn’t it? Ah well, we’ll both get organized sooner or later. Either that, or else we’ll move again before the boxes are even unpacked. Haha! Good luck to you too!

  3. Wise Owl Chick

    Good luck in Toronto and with your new dog!!!

    One of my goals is also to move more and lose weight. but… after some days, if I see some chcolate then my diet is disappeared LOL In the winter it’s more difficult I think. I would like to lose 10kg, but 5 would be ok.

    I hope that you will find a nice job.

    Buena suerte con todo 🙂
    Wise owl chick

    1. Stephanie Post author

      Gracias amiga! I have an interview two Tuesdays from now, so I hope to be working soon. I’m actually able to put down the chocolate – it’s the coffee with double cream and sugar that does me in! Ha!

      1. Wise Owl Chick

        haha double cream and sugar 🙂

        How was your interview?

        I don’t remember if i’ve told you that i’ve a job? it’s some hours every week in the restauratn in the univeristy. it’s the postgarduates and staff’s restaurant therefore calm. Two people there are moroccan and speak very well French which is nice becasue we live in London now (for sure I’ve told you this). I live with my parents again, althouhg since I was 15 I live mostly in a house with some others which was my boarding school also unitl I had my diploma. My brother (twin) and my 2 sisters are still in belgium.

        Anyway, on htlal I read your log and of course Iversen’s ( we are freinds) and some others as well. next year my aims are to be well, better i hope that 2014, and then more sports, and improve my Spanish and maybe make my German more accurate (declensions, mostly).

        I hope that you had a nice christmas and happy new year!!!

        Wise owl chick (Pauline)

        1. Stephanie Post author

          ¡Hola Pauline! The interview went well, and I got the job. I’ve been working as a teacher since the beginning of December. It’s been very, very busy! Congratulations on your job, and also on your opportunities to practice your languages. ¡Buena suerte en 2015! I look forward to seeing how you do in Spanish and German!

  4. Anthonie

    Hi Stephanie ,
    Nice to read your blog. I am just starting to learn Spanish, and your posts are giving me a great help !!!!
    I downloaded pretty much everything I can find and begin to learn in Fluencia , which is great by the way !!!
    But ur newest post was in 2014 … U don’t come back again ?
    Looking forward to hearing from u!

  5. Lindsey

    Hi, , just wanted to say that I am from Nova Scotia, what a coincidence! I am from the *cough* Bridgewater-Liverpool area if you’re familiar with it.

    1. Stephanie Post author

      I’m no longer in Nova Scotia, but yes – I do know the Bridgewater area! We were in the teeming metropolis of Middleton, outside of Greenwood. 🙂


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