Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Where Did It Go?

Where is my Spanish? Has it died? Or is it just gone?

Well, I currently cannot speak Spanish, though its the only foreign language I've actually taken classes in and given speeches in.

Long story short, I ended up at a factory in the middle of the night and needed directions.

The man I talked to was like "really you don't speak any Spanish?"

I responded "un poco..." awkwardly forcing the extra u and m out of the words..."mas...pero...." and switched back to Português.

He just shook his head as I continued to explain (in bad Portuñol) that I used to speak Spanish but now it's Portuguese.

It is very strange. When I began learning Portuguese, in Foz do Iguassu I desperately wanted rid of my Spanish.

My Portuñol was so bad, everyone thought I was Argentinian except on the plane where the Columbian soccer player next to me successfully convinced the flight attendants I was his sister. This actually became quite awkward but helped me get through customs.

....and now I can't even cough up a tiny bit of travelers Spanish...though, I will say the Portuguese has made my Spanish reading smoother.

And I still know Spanish is in there somewhere just waiting to be resuscitated.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Gali Gali Sim Sim Kids TV

Watching videos is an excellent way to learn a language after all listening and watching are two ways kids learn language and other skills. The Pimsleur method is even built upon the ways children naturally learn. More about that later.

I think that Sesame Street Hindi Style AKA Gali Gali Sim Sim is proving to be a fun way to practice and learn Hindi. Some of the videos are absolutely hysterical. I particularly enjoyed the two videos below.

I found these (go to the playlist for more) at about three months into my Hindi learning journey and can understand most of the words in the videos after watching a couple times.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Do You Mind Not Knowing What is Going On?

Show card for my Art in India exhibition.
A Nepali Indian friend asked if it bothers me ”when people just speak in Hindi?” She continued, “I think it would drive me nuts if everyone around me was talking and I couldn’t understand.” This is a good question…

The simple answer is “no, it has not bothered me yet.” I really enjoy observing and using these times to learn and listen. Every time I have wanted to understand more or need clarification I always ask.

So why does it not bother me? Haha probably because I am a bit socially awkward to begin with. I don’t mind observing nor do I mind that isolated feeling while in a large group, in fact I really enjoy it. I love people but am fairly introverted. That “alone in a crowd feel” can be incredibly nice…though I don’t really feel alone with my Indian friends. Most of the time I can pick up enough….though the times I am lost are nice too. Sometimes I just don’t talk even when I do know what’s going on. I suppose it’s less awkward to have the language “barrier” as an excuse.

The most important reason I don’t mind is the answer to the question “what is the best way to learn a language?” To go to the country…unfortunately I tend to do things backwards. I go to the country then a month after returning home decide to commit to learning the language. Spending time with people speaking the language you are trying to learn is really the only way to pick up a language…

The other friend in the car joined in and stated “they don’t do it on purpose, it’s just habit.” We continued the discussion for a bit longer (and by we I mean I continued to ponder over the question in my head…I will share my ponderings in future posts.)

I nodded in agreement as we continued to sing along to Bollywood music and drove off.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

October - December Goal - Separation

My 2 Language Study Plan worked alright for a while but I realized that people in other parts of the world are awake when they are awake and there were certainly nights where I was chatting with people in both languages.

I found that changing the times was helpful but even more so is consciously switching off one for one person and switching it back on for another person.

This is easier said than done. I can't tell you how many times I would use a word from wrong language only to notice when my friend responded with "what are you saying?" It typically would happen when I couldn't think of the right word and I was unaware that my brain just replaced it so I would need to look it up the word in the correct language.

Also talking to myself is helpful. It takes a lot more effort to think in Hindi. Portuguese is getting pretty easy to think in. Krio just happens. And French is quite difficult.

My biggest struggle with the Hindi is still the sentence structure because my vocabulary is decent (except I have forgotten a lot) and you can use English and be understood.

I still don't have Hindi and Portuguse figured out, but I think I will be needing to add in some Spanish to the mix. There have been several times people will speak to me in Spanish. I understand and then respond in portunol or just plain old portuguese.

This is not ok. I am around enough Spanish that I actually need Spanish in my town...so I am also working on separating Spanish and Portuguese in my head. This should not be too difficult, except I do fear loosing my Portuguese before I get decent and not getting it back....ever. Will see.

So my goal October - December Goal (or until I re-write goals):
Speak Hindi and to keep languages separate in messages, conversation and my brain.

Thank guys!!! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jungle Pick-Nick: Week 3

Wow today was such a great day! We had a pick-nick, or picnic, with our kiddoes in a jungle for US Brazil Connect


I have this strange fascination with banana trees and today was my first actual hike through trails lined with banana trees and tropical flowers. In the following weeks there were more gorgeous hikes to follow, including one to a gorgeous waterfall. I should have some good video from that adventure. 
I think I will get another chance to go on a hike before leaving this beautiful and inspiring country.


We played volleybal, ate, sang karaoke, and hiked a beautiful trail literally in what I would consider a jungle. 


I had a blast on the bus ride and at the pic-e nic-e with my students. Yes, I am mimicking how Brazilians say words in English. 

I will share a blog about what happens on the back of Brazilian school buses. But for now, check out my YouTube videos.

Originally posted on my travel art website in August 2014

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

PROOF PIC Do Grapes grow on The Wine?

Mera Hindusthani accha dost pagal ha.
My good Indian friend is absolutely crazy.

One evening we got into a bit of an argument while drinking a bit of wine in my art studio. This friend, to be quite honest, is one of the most American Indians I know but not ABCD as can be seen in another conversation with him.

Me: Nahin, nahin bas tujhe pagal baat hai! Ananth* it is technically a wine yard its actually a vineyard
A: They are the same word...What we are drinking and thing grapes grow on are the same.

Me: No Ananth they are not. Tum pagal ho yaar!

A: What is the difference?

Me: One is Va and the other Wa?

A: ok, so it's the same sound...

Me: No, it's like Ta, Tt, Th and Tth, Da and Dha... They all sound the same to me (and I'm pretty sure I said them all the same) but people keep telling me they are not the same...

A: Thik hai, thik hai

A couple days later I texted Ananth with an explanation of how to make the different sounds...I am still not sure if he really thought they were the same or if it was the vine talking...


*Name has been changed to protect the involved party.Name has been changed a second time because he didn't like the name I picked out.

**Excuse my bad Hinglish...That is part of why I started this blog...Is to one day be able to look back and feel good because I have gotten that much better.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Dhanyavaad Doston: Saudades pt. 2

Interestingly while in Brazil I didn't find myself missing American culture or dealing with culture shock becuase Brazil was so different from the US.


My culture shock for the first few weeks was that I was around too many Americans, in a mall several times per week, surrounded by people flaunting their money, around too much English (haha yeah, I was around more Hindi with you guys than I was portuguese for a couple weeks), couldn't really take my shoes off indoors and couldn't eat with my hands. The food was not spicy which I craved...one night I added several teaspoons of hot sauce to Arabian food...and I was saying things like "bahut obrigada" and "muito dhanyavaad." And I'm still not convinced that I know how to convey the meaning of "thik hai" with the head bob in Brazilian culture.

The second part of my trip, however,  was a very different experience. I was able to experience many of the challenges I crave with travel. I was around no english for most of it. Some days I had a translator for workshops and seminars and such but evenings and mornings there was typically no english. After 5 days of no English, my brain could actually think in Portuguese which was incredible...I really did and still do love Brazil. The food may not have been spicy, but it was delicious and flavorful. And I know y'all like to claim to like sweets...but y'all ain't got nothin' on Brazilian sweets.

But anyways this post isn't about Brazil. It's about being homesick from you all...
I knew I was a bit crazy about and may have been excessively-fascinated with Indian culture. But I didn't quite realize how much the last year was impacted by you guys. I didn't expect being away from your culture to be as challenging as it was. I am so thankful you let me genuinely experience life with you all....I will miss you all and always have a space in my heart for you and your culture. One day I hope to really experience Indian culture again and really gain a grasp on Hindi...

Português has a word, saudade, it's used to describe the emptiness when something or someone has gone away. It is certain that I am having this experience for you all...
Eu tenho saudades pra vocês...beijos e abraços!

Brasília

Originally posted August 2014 on my Travel Art Blog.