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, September 13, 2017

Dhanyavaad Doston - I had a great year with you all!

I typed a thank you in Hindi that I planned to read at the going away party when we left Laramie but forgot it :( and I'm pretty sure it actually made no sense...as I shared it online to have it proofread and was told it didn't make sense (when I get back to the US I will share it anyways. Ok well, when I find my computer)

This letter was for the many Indian friends that we made over the years but especially in that last little bit in Laramie, Wyoming.

I wanted to thank you all for welcoming Jim and I into your community. It was really special to be a part of your family. I've heard missionaries, and less often but other travelers as well, talk about going somewhere and being welcomed into the culture.

I now have a better understanding of how special that really is. There is a difference between hanging out and getting to know people and really being a part of it all and I feel like you guys blessed us with the opportunity to really be a part of your lives and culture.

It's funny becuase after returning to Wyoming I was seriously considering grad school at Khala Bhavan. But when we realized it was a longer program than I had originally thought we decided against it. This past year, though in Wyoming (possibly the place on earth that is the least like India), I really was able to experience a mini-India and it was beautiful. I learned so much about food, culture, religion, languages, social norms, cricket, and fell even more in love with your culture and people.

I began by wanting to learn Hindi. I honestly belive my goals desires changed to simply being friends and sharing life which was so beautiful.

I will never forget my last year in Wyoming and the times that we shared. I love each and every one of you guys. 

See Dhanyavaad Doston Pt 2 which I talk about being homesick from Indian culture while in Brazil.

Originally posted August of 2014 on my Travel Art Blog

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

US - Brazil Connect Bio

Felicia Follum is a watercolor artist who has a passion for using her art to work with people in culturally diverse environments. She currently teaches art, blogging, yoga, and very basic languages (Spanish, Hindi, and Sign Language) to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And teachers private art lessons with “at-risk” youth. She would like to eventually have her own studio space where she creates and sells artwork and offers various creativity-based classes. Felicia’s significant travel experiences include Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (in South Dakota), Haiti, Mexico, and India. She is excited to spend time in Brazil and see what creative work and lasting friendships will come out of the experience.





To learn more about US-Brazil Connect, check out their website


Originally posted on my Travel Art Blog and website in 2014. I have recently decided that I will move my blog posts from Brazil and other travel adventures from my art page to my language blog. I am sure that you will enjoy <3

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Why the Bible?

As I said in the first post, I wanted a Hindi/English Bible for Christmas last year.
Why the Bible?

Reading the New Testament in Spanish in high school was really enjoyable and challenging but I love that it is a book that is translated into so many languages. The Bible has been translated into over 2,000 languages, making it the most widely translated book there is (The Quran is in over 700 coming in at #2) . I like that it is a book that so many people from all over the world can and have read...Here are some more reasons...

I am a Christian, so the Bible is where my religious beliefs come from.

I was both a religious studies and philosophy minor in college (well actually both were areas of emphasis in my second major. Long story, you can watch my YT video if you want more on that)
The Bible consists of many types of writing. It has proverbs, short stories, history and lists.

I suppose these are just a few of the reasons I picked being able to read the Bible as my Hindi goal. Though I do read the Bible in Hindi and Portuguese on Regular basis, I have a long ways to go...

The water lily painting was a part of my exhibition East Meets West which was a response to my trip to India. My art is a major reason for my love of language. Check out my art blog for more art

Lily Pads and Lots,
from The Lily Pad Project
Watercolor
Aprox 11x15
$220

Thursday, May 11, 2017

YouTube Practice

One of my favorite ways to practice speaking is on YouTube. I realize that you don't get to practice conversational skills this way, which is where I struggle in all my languages.

But here are the steps for how I practice using YouTube.

1. Preparation.
My preparation for a YouTube video varies greatly. I either decide on a topic or simply take out my phone and start rambling. Sometimes I will write out a script and read it or use notes (I do both of these from time to time in English as well).

2. Recording.
This is simple. Sometimes I use the webcam on my computer and if I'm not at home, I use my phone.

3. Editing. 
I realize that I could just upload the videos but I have noticed that it is helpful for viewers to at least have subtitles and its no fun for them to sit through my ums and pauses. It can make the video more enjoyable for my viewers, who are primarily English speaking.

4. Posting.
Upload and share.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Goals 2017 - March Through June

I’m a little late getting my 2017 goals in here…surprise. surprise.

The first two and a half months of the new year were a whirlwind. But its mid march and I am ready and excited to rock and roll. There is even a new language on my list that I didn’t plan to study. But lets start with a quick review of the languages you already know I’m working on.

I will write 1-3 month goals and hopefully I will create an update of some kind within that time (here or on paper).
Travel Collage
10x10
$75

Old Studies

Hindi/Urdu

Update - I’m pretty rusty, as you may guess. I was able to practice with people who don’t speak any English at all while in Italy (which I will post on soon. If not here, on my art blog for sure over at feliciafollum.com).

Goal - practice conversation and talking about topics. Topics include, religion (what I believe), family, friends, and why I’m studying Hindi.

Urdu Goal - Learn alphabet. Though I’m not sure how serious I am about this one. I may focus on Hindi/Urdu/Hindustani speaking. Though I know reading will help improve my vocabulary and overall Hindustani skills. But I could also, simply continue to read in Hindi.

I suppose if I find a Pakistani friend to chat with in Urdu, maybe I will decide to learn the alphabet.

Portuguese

Update - RUSTY RUSTY RUSTY and I get really shy and freeze when trying to listen.

Goal - Listen to more Portuguese videos and music while working. Improve listening and reading skills, as I know speaking will come back as I regain confidence, as this was once my strongest language I suppose.

New to me Languages

French

Update - This is new!!! This is new!!! I am a complete beginner with this one, so I am excited to document the process and I think it should be realistic to advance, much slower than with Hindi or Portuguese but still at a steady pace.

Goal - Be able to hold a basic conversation by the next international dinner. Have some questions to ask and be ready to answer.

Tasks to Reach goal - Create flash cards and study them daily. Work on Duolingo to get some vocabulary and grammatical usage into my brain Keep chatting with my new French speaking friends using translator and trying phrases I am learning. Listen to the sounds using google translate

Listen to pronunciation videos and practice reading with online friends Find some folks who can correct me and some who will be more relaxed Maybe find someone looking to learn English and exchange with them.

Dabbling

Spanish

Update - no update.

Goal - One day to return to Spanish but for now focus on Portuguese and French (though I’ve recently heard it’s ok to work on 3 or 4 romance languages at once.

Latin

Update - none

Goal - One day finish the book of John (start over)

Somali

Update - I did get to practice my phrases in Italy

Goal - None

Arabic

Update - none

Goal - When visiting my Sudanese friends I will practice what I know with their parents who don’t speak much English.