Tag Archives: language learning

Finished Another French Book!

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I feel like this has been a really good week for French.  I finished reading French Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners: Engaging Short Stories to Learn French and Build Your Vocabulary by Language Guru (sorry, no video of me talking about it), and got through another chapter from Barron’s Painless French.  The one thing I was hoping to do that I didn’t get to was pick a new French show to watch on Netflix.  I was watching one a few weeks ago but lost interest in it (it really wasn’t my kind of show, but I did like that the episodes were shorter).  I’ve saved a bunch of French shows on my list though, so I’ll have to pick through and find something new!

While French was good, I don’t feel like I did as well with Ukrainian this week.  I did read a few stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts, but not as many as I was hoping to.  I also didn’t listen to any episodes of Ukrainian Lessons Podcast (but I did listen to a lot of Ukrainian music – I’m getting to the point where I can mostly sing along to my favourite Ukrainian song!)

That’s about all I’ve got to report right now.  For this week I have to fit more Ukrainian reading in.  I also get to start a new French book – that’s going to be French Short Stories for Beginners: 20 Captivating Short Stories to Learn French and Grow Your Vocabulary the Fun Way! by Lingo Mastery.  This was the first French book of short stories that I got; I attempted to read it when I got it during the summer, but I was really struggling to understand a lot of the first story so I put it aside.  Hopefully I’ll have more luck this time!

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Ukrainian Books!!!

Hey Everyone, how’s it going?  Things are alright for me right now – I’m in a much better mental space, so that’s great!  I was worried I was going to be dead today after the time change on the weekend (I barely slept between Saturday and Sunday, then woke up a bunch of times between Sunday and Monday, and was worried I’d be a zombie trying to get to work yesterday), but thankfully I was alright!  I didn’t quite meet all of the goals I set for myself last week, but I’m not stressing out about it; the main thing was that I still made some progress!

Also, all of my Ukrainian books have arrived!!!!

the 8 Ukrainian books I ordered

The book of fairy tales is on the right (“казки” is Ukrainian for “fairy tales” or “tales”). There are a few books of short stories, and the Arthur series by Luc Besson which I thought would be fun.  I even bought a colouring book that I hope to one day colour with my niece! 🙂

I did fall behind slightly with Karin Dimitrova’s Reset program over the weekend.  I was thinking of trying to catch back up, but ended up deciding to just continue from here, rather than stress about it (lol, that seems to be my mantra right now!)

I was also very happy to finish a book I started back in February over the weekend (Life of Pi).  I thought I was going to just abandon it (I put it down for a few weeks), but ended up sticking with it to the end.  I’m looking forward to reading something new now though!

So for this week I’m going to set a few more goals for reading in French and Ukrainian, but otherwise now much more so I don’t start feeling overwhelmed again! 🙂

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A Mental Health Update

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  Sorry for not posting anything last week – I was having a rough time and wasn’t in a good mental space.  Last week was just super stressful and I just wasn’t able to do much more than work and make dinner.  I did some language learning as well, but basically just the bare minimum to keep my skills up.  Thankfully by Sunday my head was in a better space, and yesterday I was feeling relatively back to normal mentally, so that’s great news.

I’m also very thankful that I signed myself up for Karin Dimitrova’s new Reset program.  When it was first announced, I decided to sign up thinking any tools she could teach me to help with mental health during this pandemic were a good thing.  But the timing ended up perfect, with the course starting right around when my mental health was taking the worst hits.  The course definitely helped me get through last week without my mental state deteriorating further.

Over the weekend I also spent a lot of time reading Atomic Habits by James Clear.  I wasn’t expecting to connect with the book as much as I did, but I found his writing very engaging.  I also liked the idea of striving to be just 1% better each day, and how over time, that compounds and leads to great improvements.  Atomic Habits is definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in that sort of thing. 🙂

So with my mental state improving, I set myself a few goals for the week around reading books in French and Ukrainian.  Ever since revisiting my October goals, I’ve been flying through 100 Easy Texts in Ukrainian (I read over 25 stories in it in February!) and want to keep up that momentum.  I’ve also read two chapters in French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners by Language Guru, and discovered that the chapters are self contained stories that all deal with the same character, which is an interesting approach.  So far I’ve found the book to be alright, but I wish it had more dialogue.

Oh, I’m also really excited: I ordered myself some books in Ukrainian, including a book of Ukrainian Fairy Tales!  I love fairy tales, and I’m looking forward to reading them.  A lot of the books I bought are beyond the level I’m currently at, but I think I have a good range of things that I can build to as I continue to learn the language. 🙂

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A Big French Update :)

Over the weekend, I finished reading Short Stories in French for Beginners!  😀

To celebrate finishing the book, I made a video where I attempt to talk about it in French.  You can check it out here:

Lol, I had a really hard time making this video because my brain was stuck in “Ukrainian mode” that day – it took several takes before I got something where I didn’t completely trail off into nothingness because I couldn’t remember the words I wanted to say!

I’m still defaulting to English at times, especially when I get frustrated with trying to remember words, but I felt like I got a lot more French out in this video than in my other two French videos, so that’s nice to see.  🙂

My next French book is going to be French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners by Language Guru.  It’s a smaller book with only eight chapters (I think each chapter is one story), so I’m hopeful that it won’t take me too long to get through.  Like Short Stories in French for Beginners, it’s got vocabulary and comprehension questions.  But as an added bonus, each story seems to have an English translation, so that’ll be interesting to see how close my understanding of the French versions were to the English!

I’ve also read a few Robert Munsch stories in French (I took a book out from the library, L’heure de Munsch, which collects 5 Robert Munsch books that were translated into French).  That’s been a lot of fun too – while I’m not understanding every word, I’ve understood enough to figure out what was going on.  I got a real laugh out of the second book in the collection (Tire le bouchon, fiston! or Down the Drain in English), and am looking forward to reading the last three. 🙂

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Happy Valentine’s and Family Days

Hey everyone, I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day and Family Day if you celebrate it!  My long weekend was good – I was able to spend some time reading. 🙂  I also finally finished sorting through and uploading all of the pictures from my phone to Flickr – I had over 1200 pictures going back to before the pandemic hit here!  This has been a huge undertaking and I’ve very happy to have a lot more room on my phone now!

In terms of goals for the week, I got through almost everything I set for myself.  I read I think 10 stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts (I was hoping to get through just 8! I now only need to read 6 per week and I’ll finish the book as planned by May!), and one full story (three chapters) from Short Stories in French for Beginners (which means I just have one more three-chapter story to go and I’m finished the book!)  Plus I managed to fit in some reading for fun!

Oh, I also fit in reading another chapter from Painless French, so that was a bonus!

So for this week I’ve set much the same goals as last week, but with a few less stories from 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts.  I’m also ramping up working on book editing, so we’ll see how the reading goes in the middle of that!

So how’s your week been?  How is everything going for you? 🙂

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Revisiting October Goals

Hey everyone, how’s it going ?  Over the weekend I finally sat down to look at the goals I set back in October.  At that time I had set some three month, six month, one year, and more than one year goals that I wanted to work towards, mostly concerning my language learning.  I intended to revisit them back in January, but kept putting it off.  And suddenly we were already a week into February – whoops!

I actually missed two of the three three month goals I set for myself at that time – editing short stories, and finishing Short Stories in French for Beginners.  While flipping back through the book where I like to set weekly goals for myself, I also realized that I stopped setting weekly goals at the end of November, which is most likely why I failed on the reading front (I honestly kind of forgot about the book during the holidays).  So I’ll have to try to get back into that habit, too!

My new three month goals are mainly the six month goals I set back in October, but with the addition of finishing Short Stories in French for Beginners, and without finishing the French Duolingo tree now that I’m no longer subscribed to Duolingo Pro.  I still intend to finish the tree; I’m just thinking it’s going to take a bit longer than three months now, especially since I’m exploring French on LinQ and through Barron’s Painless French.

Regarding my Ukrainian learning, I planned to finish reading 100 Easy Texts in Ukrainian by the six month mark.  I completely forgot about that too, so if I plan to meet that goal I’m going to have a lot of reading to get through over the next few months!  I also planned to finish Ukrainian Lessons Podcast season 2 by the six month mark, so we’ll see how that goes, too.

And just so I didn’t forget about it, I also added in some editing milestones for myself concerning the book I’m contracted to edit.  I’m going to have a very busy couple of months!!!

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My Return to Flickr :)

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  Still plugging along here.  Along with working on editing the book and learning languages, I finally started taking all the pictures off my phone and uploading them to Flickr.  I didn’t really add anything to Flickr since just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit here last March, so I’ve had almost a year’s worth of pictures to sort and upload!  As of yesterday I managed to upload pictures up to the middle of May last year; I’ll keep working at getting through the rest as I have time this week. 🙂

What sparked that was being invited to take part in an alphabet photo challenge for the month of February by one of my Flickr friends.  I haven’t really been taking pictures in a long time (especially of Lego Minifigures), so I decided to participate.  I’ve used minifigures for an alphabet challenge once before (the only other alphabet challenge I’ve done), but this time I decided to do a series of minifigure portraits similar to the pictures in my The Faces of Lego album on Flickr.  I planned out what minifigures I’m going to use over the weekend.  If you’re interested in following along, you can find the album for Minifigure Alphabet 2.0 here:

A-lien

I’ll be taking and adding the second picture to the album after work this evening. 🙂

Oh, this week I also found a new language learning app that I am going to try: LinQ.  LinQ’s website says it has a big library of content for language learners in a variety of languages; what specifically attracted me to it was that Ukrainian is one of the listed languages on it (I’ve been having a hard time finding Ukrainian language content).  Unfortunately I didn’t see much on the app either (especially compared to French), but I’m hoping that will change once I get beyond the very beginnings.  We’ll see how it goes!

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Update: A Whole Lot of French + Goodbye Lucky Bamboo :(

The last two weeks have been kind of a blur (and I apologize because I missed writing an update last week).  I’ve been working on the editing project where I can.  It’s been slow work going, but at least it’s going. 🙂

In terms of language learning, I actually watched the final season of Game of Thrones in French (with English subtitles).  I put the final season on hold at the library, and thanks to delays due to covid quarantines, I finally got it.  I almost didn’t watch it because I don’t typically watch a lot on my own (although I admit I’m watching more on my own thanks to covid), but in the end I decided that I’d made it this far through the season that I might as well see how it ends.  Having it help my French learning was a definite bonus.

I did learn something very interesting about Google Play though: buying something digitally on that platform (and iTunes from what I could tell) only seems to give you audio in one language (in my case, English).  I found this out because one of the discs had a very fine scratch and wasn’t playing a scene from one of the episodes, so I bought it, but sadly had to watch it in English rather than in French.  So if you’re learning languages, especially common ones in your country/area (like French here in Canada), you’re better off watching DVDs.  Or Netflix – I’ve found lots of content in popular languages (like French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian, but sadly not Ukrainian).

cover of Painless FrenchI was also super excited to find Painless French, a book I bought myself years ago for learning French!  I remembered seeing it at one point awhile ago, but when I started seriously learning French, I couldn’t find it and thought that maybe I had given it away.  I’m very happy to find that wasn’t the case!  I read through the first chapter over the weekend and really enjoyed it.  I’m hoping it will be a great resource for continuing to learn. 🙂

I’ve also made the decision to stop subscribing to Duolingo Plus.  Back in the summer when I was off work it made sense to subscribe since I was trying to jam in as much language learning as I could.  But now that I’m back at work (and editing), I have a lot less time for language learning.  And now that I’m done the Ukrainian tree, I’m also just not wanting to use Duolingo as much as I did.  I started the reverse tree (learning English as if I were a native Ukrainian speaker), which has given me a few new Ukrainian words, but overall I’m not really enjoying it.  I’m also not having as much fun with the French Tree and would like to have more time to go off and try other resources (like Painless French).  At this point I’m still planning on using Duolingo a bit (I would like to finish the French tree one day, even if I don’t make it a golden tree); just not nearly as much as I was.

my sad lucky bamboo plantIn other sad news, my lucky bamboo died on me. It was doing okay, then a few weeks ago I noticed the stem turned yellow.  I don’t think I did anything like last time when I put fertilizer into the water without realizing that was super bad for lucky bamboo.  My best guess this time around is that it’s due to the water; we have issues with lead in our pipes in my city right now.  I filter drinking water for me and Merlin using a filter that takes lead out, but I wasn’t using that for my plants (and the lucky bamboo is going to take the brunt of any lead that’s in the water because it’s just sitting in water).  While I’m very sad to lose it, I can honestly say I have done my best for this plant (and it was fine for quite awhile after I fertilized it – that happened back in November 2019!  It lived for over a year since that happened!)

 

I also finally got some (English) fun reading in!  I went through a bit of a dry spell this month where I wasn’t reading anything, but then a friend sent me a copy of his book and suddenly I’m reading again! But more about all of that on Thursday. 😉

So that’s been my last few weeks.  How’s everything going for you? 🙂

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Ukrainian Golden Tree!

Hey everyone, just a quick update for today: last week, I finished my Golden Tree!!!!  I made a quick video to celebrate:

And yes, it was a crazy coincidence, but I finished the Tree on Ukrainian Christmas. 🙂

Last week was also my first French Zoom meeting of 2021.  Having been away from speaking in French for a few weeks, I had a super hard time finding the words.  So I also made a French video talking about it (it was more for the practice in speaking).  Check that one out here:

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Hello 2021!

Hi everyone! How were your holidays?  Mine were quieter than normal, but still good.  I’ve always loved the holiday season because it’s a time when I reconnect with family and friends.  Since it wasn’t really possible to do so this year in person, I decided to send out Christmas cards instead.  I even got a few back in reply by the end of that week! (I couldn’t believe how quickly they travelled!)

But now it’s a new year, which means time to reflect on the goals I set last year (and set some new ones!) Last year I basically set the same smaller goals for myself as in 2019: I wanted to read 25 novel-length books, finish one of the RPG’s that I’ve started (although I specifically picked Memories for 2020), and work on two short stories (although I decided I was going to edit a few I’ve already written, rather than write new ones).  While I was successful with the first two goals, the short story editing unfortunately didn’t happen: I put it off, and then, when I was going to make a push to work on at least one during December, the book editing project I’m working on derailed that plan completely (which is okay – it was good to get some work on that done instead).  And ever since I started learning both Ukrainian and French when I was off work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of my time has gone towards language learning as well.

I wasn’t really sure what sorts of goals I should set this year because I honestly have no idea what 2021 will bring in terms of the pandemic (I am hopeful we’ll get through it this year, but who knows if a third or fourth wave might shut everything down again?)  I don’t want to overwhelm myself with ambitious projects (especially during this pandemic; some days I don’t want to do anything and that’s okay).  Plus, if I’ve learned anything during the last several years of setting goals, it’s that a few smaller goals are better for me (also, I still seem to get derailed over the course of the year even with those smaller goals!)

But I did know that accomplishing some milestones in both French and Ukrainian would be important.  Unfortunately it’s hard to quantify things like “be able to have a basic conversation” or “be able to have a deeper conversation.”  So I looked through the goals I set for myself during my random October planning session, and chose some concrete things to accomplish from that list.

So with all of that lead-up, here are my goals for the year:

  1. Read 25 of the novel-length books I own.  I know I can read 25 books in a year (I read 43 books this year).  But I keep getting distracted by shiny new books at the library, completely ignoring all the books I have here.  So I’m going to challenge myself to get through more of my books (of course, that will have to wait until I deal with the library books I’ve already got out…).  Whether they’re physical or on my Kindle, I want to get through 25 of them before the end of the year!
  2. Write a new story.  I feel like it’s been forever since I have, and I’d like to change that.  I don’t care what kind of story it is: a short story, a novel, an RPG, a podcast, a screen play, whatever.  I just want to work on something new!
  3. Language Learning goals:
    1. Ukrainian Duolingo tree to Gold (I’ve only got four more lesson bubbles to go!)
    2. Finish reading Short Stories in French for Beginners
    3. Finish reading 100 Easy Ukrainian Texts
    4. Read French Short Stories for Beginners
    5. Read French: Short Stories for Beginners and Intermediate Learners
    6. Read Ukrainian Language: Texts in Ukrainian
    7. Finish Ukrainian Lessons Podcast seasons 2-4
    8. Finish the Duolingo French tree (just getting to the end, not turning it to gold)

While it didn’t make the list, I’d also love to finish with the book editing project I’ve been working on since 2019.  Unfortunately that’s out of my hands (the original end date for that should have been last winter, but it was taking longer than planned even before covid hit).  So fingers crossed that it will finish this year, too!

So what about you?  Have you set any goals for yourself this year? 🙂

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