Another September, Another Course

I never would have thought that I would be back doing another course… but that’s exactly where I am at! With this pandemic nightmare and pretty much all tourism jobs gone in a poof of smoke, I’ve had to rethink my career choice! I’m decided (and hopefully sensibly) to do a Healthcare course. It allows me to work in nursing homes, hospitals, elderly home-care, health clinics and generally anything related to healthcare. With the way this Coronavirus is headed, I felt this was the most secure way of getting a job at the end of May!

Subjects include Care Support, Care Skills, Anatomy & Physiology, Human Growth & Development, Care of the Older Person, Work Experience and Nursing Theory & Practice. Communications and Health & Safety are two others but because I done those last year this means I don’t have to repeat those. So my timetable isn’t as hectic as the Tourism course last year!

So far I’m really enjoying all the subjects; they are really interesting and I’m learning loads in each class. That’s what I really enjoy, just learning new things. My teachers are all really nice and my classmates seem very nice too!

Compared to my Tourism course, where I was the oldest out of them all, in my new group there is a whole mix of ages. Some are just out of school, one is 25 and she done a make-up a course before this, another has 4 children, another has a son in his 30’s, so I feel a lot more comfortable in this class than the tourism one!

This year the school split every class into two. So my class has 30 students altogether, but to help with social distancing, they split us into half and my group (A) go to school one week while group B logs onto the lesson via zoom. So this week I go to school and then next week I can stay at home and log in. I don’t mind this at all! I get to have a lie in, I spend less on petrol, and because I’ve been taking Spanish classes through zoom, it’s not strange for me to have classes online. I know there are others in the class who hate the online part, and would much rather go to class, but for me I think it breaks up the monotony and I’m sure the weeks will fly by.

As I was studying Spanish during the summer, I wanted to try and keep taking classes during the times when I am free, but I learned pretty quickly that I’m really not engaging in the classes as much as I was. Instead of going 5 days a week, 20 classes, I now go only 3 days a week with 10 classes. I organised it so I could do it Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I realised that I’m missing too much in the days that I don’t go, and I don’t really want to be spending money each week when I’m not really getting much out of it. So I decided that I will stop taking online classes but I’ll continue to take speaking classes with iTalki. If I manage to maintain what I learned and keep practicing it then I would be happy with that!

For the whole summer I was debating whether to do this Healthcare Support course, but I decided that it was the best choice. I wasn’t very happy going back to school again and studying ( I put so much effort into the Tourism course, I just felt that I couldn’t do it all again), but at least I don’t have to do 2 modules and if I can do it once, then I can do it again. Plus I learned that I just have to adapt to the situation that I’m in.

I feel that this course will open up more doors to me, and I know that I could do the job. I’m a kind, caring person and I want people to be happy. I’m not cut out for working in sales or a really stressful job, but I know I could work in the healthcare sector. I’ll be recognised as a Healthcare Assistant so I’ll actually have a title. I would be helping the nurse with the patients, chatting to them, feeding them, bathing them and helping them with their daily activities.

I really hope I made the right decision with this course. I cried when I realised my tourism course is useless (for the time being), and that I have to go back and do it all again. It’s not what I planned at all and I was really annoyed that I chose the wrong course. I’m lucky that I can go back and do another one, but it’s still difficult to put myself back into the mindset of being a student when I was 100% certain I would get a job in the something related to tourism.

So, as I probably said this time last year, lets see what this year brings!

1 Word That I Can’t Pronounce in Spanish

As I want to learn more Spanish words, I was reading one of my Spanish story books that I brought home from Mexico. They are really for native Spanish speaking children, but the level is fine for me, there are a few pictures inside, and the font size is much bigger! So I decided to buy 3 of them!

It was in one of these books where I saw this word.  I immediately thought “That looks like it’s made up, that can’t be real!”

So I looked it up and yes, it is actually quite real!

….ronronear…

This means ‘to purr’ in Spanish. I was reading a short story about a black cat and this word crept up a few times.

I don’t know why it’s weird, it’s just how it’s written and how it is pronounced. It just doesn’t sound like a ‘normal’ Spanish word!

Incidentally, this is one word that I can’t say either! There is only a slight roll of the tongue when pronouncing the ‘r’s and I just can’t seem to get my tongue back in the right position to say the second ‘r’!

Before I used to have trouble saying ‘euro’. The ‘EUro’ sound is different to the way you say it in English and I just couldn’t get it right! However after practicing I can say it ok now!

The rolling ‘R’s are usually fine however I do trip up on them sometimes, especially when I speak too fast.

But this word I just can’t say. I tried and tried and my husband was also trying to teach me how to say it but I’m just not getting it! It’s not exactly a really important word to say so I’m not overly concerned about it!

I wonder will I find some other weird sounding words the next time I read my books!

Aisling

 

Using iTalki to improve my Spanish

people on a video call

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

When I was in a teenager, I used to study French in school. I don’t really remember much of it except that we used to have a teacher who was constantly giving out to us.

Then in college my course offered 3 years of either studying Spanish or French. Of course I went for the French option as I had studied that before.

Again, I don’t remember much from it, except I was always the worst in the class (and there were only 7 students in total!) and being taught new grammar that I never had a clue what it was about. I remember looking at the grammar and thinking “I don’t have a clue what I’m reading or studying!”

One thing I do remember though was one day the lecturer told us to write something in french on the computers in the classroom. I remember I wasn’t able to do it so I started using Google Translate to translate what I wanted. I made sure the lecturer couldn’t see me do this.

However little did I know was that she could see what everyone was doing through her own computer! I forget what she said to me but I remember I was so embarrassed and I definitely didn’t try it again!

So in my last year of college we didn’t have to study French and I was so happy about it: I really didn’t do well in it and I just managed to scrape a pass in it.

So that was the deal with French.

Then I decided to study Chinese! One of the hardest languages in the world to learn! My experience with French must have been erased from my head or something! So you can imagine how much I…. ehm…. learned. . .

So I studied and my listening and reading did actually improve. I could understand exactly what the teachers were talking about and I was able to read children’s stories in Chinese. Speaking was a problem though and I fumbled my 5 years in China just being able to use survival Chinese.

But then…… my boyfriend/now husband arrived on the scene. This time Spanish was all the rage in my world!

While I was in China I really didn’t study much Spanish. I didn’t need to use it in my daily life so it was hard for me to get the motivation to study. At home my husband used to speak really simple sentences to me, like “I want to eat noodles.”

I remember he would say something to me in Spanish in a really romantic way and I would think “Oh I wonder what he is saying, he sounds so romantic!”

“I want to eat eggs for breakfast tomorrow”

No…. that was SO NOT romantic! I remember he used to do that to me a few times and I never knew what the hell he was saying! He always used to laugh when I found out what he was saying!

I remember walking down the streets and he would try to explain something in Spanish.

I remember sitting outside a restaurant waiting for our food to be ready and I would try to speak a little.

When we were on the bus going to a plaza nearby he would get me to translate really simple sentences into Spanish, like “I eat apples everyday when I am at work”.

I also remember being on the bus and he would send voice messages in Spanish to his friends and I would try and pick up what he was saying.

Those are my experiences of learning Spanish when I was in China.

In Mexico I really did improve a lot. Because classes were expensive there I studied by myself. I could understand what my husbands family were talking about and I could join in on more conversations. My speaking really wasn’t great though, but I do remember my listening got much better!

After I moved back to Ireland I was busy with my course and Spanish went out the window. I didn’t speak for months and It felt like everything that I learned in Mexico had just disappeared! So in January 2020 I joined iTalki and I had a class with a woman from Mexico.

I was really nervous because I hadn’t spoken to anyone in Spanish for a long long time, and I forgot loads! The class was good but I felt I didn’t really connect with the lady. I didn’t take another iTalki class until May when I started studying Spanish again.

I had another class with another woman from Mexico and although she was nice I felt like I was carrying the conversations. When you are learning a language it should be the teacher who leads the conversations, however with the class I had with the woman, I felt it was my responsibility to lead.

I looked again and I found a lady that seemed nice and since then I have had 8 classes in total with her. Again she is from Mexico and she is really nice and I feel comfortable talking to her! So I have classes with her but also I take classes with another woman as well. I enjoy both of their classes and I don’t feel under pressure to think of things to talk about!

Ideally I would like to have 3 classes a week, 60 minutes each, but sometimes they don’t have time because their schedule is full and sometimes I’m just lazy!

Speaking with them has definitely helped with my speaking, and I love it because it’s really flexible: Because the teachers set their own cost, I can choose how much I would like to pay, I can choose what time I would like to have class at, and I can choose how many classes I want each week. If I want I can schedule a class tomorrow at a certain time (if they are available at that time) and I can explain to them what I would like to talk about/study.

Speaking is one thing I do want to improve on a lot. I want to gain the confidence to be able to speak well and know that I can hold a conversation. My problem is when I am nervous all my Spanish goes out the window and I end up making really really silly/basic mistakes!

I’ve been thinking about searching for another teacher so that I can practice with 3 people, but I don’t know if that will confuse me! I get confused about what topics I’ve talked about with the two teachers that I have so having a 3rd would make it even more complicated for me!

But anyway, I really enjoy iTalki and even though sometimes I don’t be in the mood for a class, but once I’m done I feel happy with myself!

Aisling

Oh and this isn’t a sponsored blog by iTalki!  I definitely DO NOT have enough followers to even dream of that! I just think it’s a great site and it has helped me a lot!

 

A Little Spanish Test

This is my third week of having Spanish online classes, and one of my teachers told us yesterday that we would be having an oral Spanish test!

She told us that she will pick a photo and we have to look at it and then she will ask us questions about the photos, like where is it, what are the people wearing, what are they doing etc. It is actually like the oral exam in the Spanish DELE. (I have never done it but I have read about it)

She explained that its to make sure that we have a high enough Spanish level to keep moving on in the book, so maybe we might be getting more difficult grammar in the future. I am not too worried because I can talk about things with no problems. I have to review clothes though and how to say they are wearing because I am not too sure on that, but overall I think it will be fine. I think I will get my husband to pick a few photos for me later and I can practise with him!

My classes are going well though. I really enjoy them and even if I know the grammar already, theres always something to learn. There is one student I am not too fussed about as he kind of disrupts the class and he talks rubbish and off topic (because he likes the attention), but apart from that the others are fine. Two students from Australia left the course unfortunately, and then one new student arrived, so I think it is usual for students to come and go. Anyone can join every Monday so it is great to have that option instead of having to wait until a certain date to start! I have nothing much to do right now so I am going to continue with my classes for another while!

Also you can pay weekly which I do, so you are not tied with having to go for months at a time!

So we will see how this little test goes tomorrow… my first one in Spanish!

Aisling

 

My Therapist Said…

I’ve been stressing out lately about things…. the wedding, living in Mexico, money, not having much independence… just general things in life. Every week myself and my husband go to a therapist and we just talk about stuff that makes me anxious and what I can do to improve my life. My husband comes to translate because although my therapist understands a lot of what I say, I don’t think his speaking is as good. I don’t mind because I tell my husband everything so he knows beforehand what we’re going to discuss.

One thing I’ve been stressing about is learning my Spanish every day. “Today you need to learn this Aisling…..Oh you still haven’t done it, you’re going to have to do extra tomorrow.”.

Tomorrow comes “Don’t forget you have extra to study today….you’re going to be way behind in everything and won’t learn anything”.

And yet I still don’t do it. So I pressure myself to learn this, do that, write this out, study this grammar, and then there’s just so much that I need to do that I end up abandoning everything.

Then I feel bad for not doing anything all day.

So my therapist was telling me maybe leave studying Spanish for a while and see how I get on. I do want to continue studying though, so he recommend that I to do it in a more fun way. So I’m going to try and do that.

He also advised me just to relax more and do more of what I enjoy. I don’t do many things because my bloody head is constantly thinking ‘You have to study, you have to study… study… study… STUDY!!!.’ So I feel I shouldn’t be watching videos on YouTube because I really should be studying instead.

But my therapist made sense, and from now on for the foreseeable future I’m just going to relax more, stop worrying about Spanish, and just do what I feel like doing. Do stuff that makes me happy.

When I want to and feel like studying then I’ll do it. I’m going to try and not get annoyed at myself if I don’t.

You know it’s just that I know I’m not very good at languages. I know it. I know I need to put pressure on myself. Just doing nothing isn’t going to make the language stick in my head. I’m definitely not gifted with languages that’s for sure. I don’t mind that. I just want to see that my efforts are creating results, and at the moment I just can’t see it. For the time I study and the effort I’m putting in, I’m just not seeing results. My husband says he can see I’m getting better at talking, but I just can’t. So it’s annoying. I’m determined to learn it. I know one day I will speak fluently, but just now it’s difficult.

So, for the time being I’m just going to take it easy, do what makes me happy, and not stress as much. And we’ll see what happens!

Aisling

Things That I Do To Study Spanish

Things That I Do To Study Spanish

Duolingo

Who doesn’t use Duolingo when learning a language. I’m nearly finished my tree but I keep forgetting to do it everyday, so I need to stick with this one more. But it’s a good starting point for learning.

Youtube videos

There are quite a few videos on how to learn Spanish, but I particularly enjoy the channel ‘WhyNotSpanish’. She is really nice and she explains things clearly and simply. I really enjoy her channel.

whynotspanish

Another channel I watch is Extra en Español. A Spanish tv show for  learners. It’s a bit cringe-worthy sometimes but it’s useful for your listening!

extraspanish

Irish Leaving Cert Spanish Past Papers

For my Leaving Cert in Ireland, I studied French (which I totally forget). These exam papers are the important exams for entry to University. You have ordinary level (which is a lower level) and higher level. Here they have stories that you read, fill in the questions, and then you have an email/ letter you must write.

You can find the website here; Leaving Certificate Sample Spanish Papers

So on the Ordinary level which I’m doing now, for the email/ letter which you have to write, what I do is first say it to my fiancé. He will help me fix any mistakes. So I will practice saying it aloud a few times, then I will write it down. I think this is useful for me.

Sample Spanish books on Kindle

I really enjoy learning Spanish by reading. Before going to sleep I would usually try and read a few pages of a Spanish book that I have in my Kindle. There are lots of spanish books on Amazon, but of course you need to pay for them. But I figured out I could simply download a  free sample of whatever book I wanted, then I could read and practice using the samples. Sometimes they give quite a few pages of the book, so that keeps me going with my reading practice!

Speaking with my fiancé

I try and talk with him everyday in Spanish, and when we are on the bus going somewhere. But of course we always revert back to English!

Anki Flashcards

I used Anki flashcards for when I was learning Chinese, and it proved quite useful. For spanish, I use Anki and a method for learning languages. I will explain it.

For Nouns, first I will write the alphabet A-Z. I will have two of these. One will be for men, another for women.

So for example, the word government, el govierno.  El is going to be for male. So all nouns that begin with el will be male. All with la will be female.

Ok, so for el gobierno, what I do is think of a male with the name beginning with G, because gobierno begins with G. I think of George Clooney.

Now I need to think of an image of George doing something related to government. I picture him in my head holding a placard with the words ‘Shut your gob you government!’. (In Ireland people sometimes say ‘Shut your gob’ to someone to stop talking’).

So I try and remember that scene until it’s easy to remember. Then when I see the word ‘el gobierno’ I can picture George Clooney holding the placard and shouting!

I’ll give you another one. La bufanda. Scarf.

I picture Beyonce holding a scarf and saying BOO to all her fans. So Boo to her fans. La Bufanda!

This is a good way to memorise words. I’ve only started doing this so I’ll see in a few weeks if I’ve retained any of these words!

Also for verbs, because they don’t have a gender, I just choose a fictional character and do exactly as I done with nouns.

I think this method of learning is called the ‘Marilyn Method’.

My problem now is that I lose motivation sometimes, and then I spend a few days not learning anything. Plus when I’m working the last thing I want to learn is study! So I need to try and practice everyday!

Aisling.

How Did My 2016 Resolutions Turn Out?

How Did My 2016 Resolutions Turn Out?

Scrolling down through my posts, I came across my New Years Resolutions for 2016; My (few) New Years resolutions. I had totally forgot that I had posted resolutions for myself (which isn’t a good sign), so I thought I’d update on which ones I unconsciously achieved, and some which I have not!

1.Study More Chinese.

Well I think I’ve done this unconsciously; I’ve attended another 2 semesters of Chinese learning since then. Plus I’ve read a few Chinese books, I’ve watched one Chinese movie (I know I know… 1 isn’t that good). But I have started watching a Chinese TV series called ‘虎妈猫爸’ or ‘Tiger Mum’ in English. There’s quite a lot that I don’t understand but I get the gist of each episode and the storyline. So my listening should be improving because of this. Finally my speaking; well because I’m an introvert. . . I’m not the chattiest of people even when I speak to people in my native language, never mind in Chinese! So that’s still a hurdle I need to address. But I think I achieved this resolution.

2. Do the HSK 3 exam.

Unfortunately I didn’t do this… but I did buy a book for practising! So I did have some good intentions to do it. To be honest I don’t really know how I sign up for it, and apparently you can do it in the comfort of your own home! I did not know this! I will do it one day… I might even attempt the HSK 4! haha well we’ll see!

3. Do more exercise.

Having come back from Ireland after Christmas and gaining a lot of weight, myself and my boyfriend started to do more exercise… then grew lazy as we all do. Thankfully I’ve bought a new bike so I now cycle to work and school. I’m still not as slim as before but at least I’m doing a bit more exercise. I’d have preferred to do even more exercise so I’ll put this one as half succeeded.

4. Travel more around China.

Having never left China during this year, I’ve travelled more around the country. My favourite is definitely Xiamen, I really loved the city. But I also enjoyed going to Kangding and Garze and experiencing the Tibetan way of life. I loved going to Yangshuo and seeing the famous mountains, then to Longsheng and walking in and among the rice terraces. Those a few of the places I’ve been to this year. So I’ve achieved that resolution.

5. Last but not least, be happier.

Mmm… this is  a tricky one. I hate to admit it but I’m a pessimist… instead of thinking of what could go right.. I’m constantly thinking of what could go wrong. And I’m also a worrier.. about EVERYTHING.  I really drain myself! I wish I could be a happier person… but I just naturally end up worrying and stressing over money, work, Chinese, finding a good job, missing my family loads… thinking about life after China… so obviously this makes me much less happy. I’m afraid that I’m going to live out the rest of my life not being happy; because I didn’t do this, I couldn’t do that.. I did that wrong.  So I suppose with this resolution I’ll say I half achieved it.

Now I must make my Resolutions for 2017!

再见

爱玲