My life has a set routine most of the time. On weekdays I get up at 5 or 6am and do some writing, it could be freelance or it could be blogging. Hopefully eventually it will be new fantasy writing, but not yet. When I have the girls I wait until 7am or a little after to wake them. Then it’s breakfast and off to my mother’s so she can kindly babysit them for the day. I head to my part-time office job after that, go on my lunch break walk, do my daily duties and then pick up the girls on the way home. Then playing, dinner and so on. The next day it repeats itself or changes slightly if it’s my ex’s turn to have the girls. Then it’s just Jazzmin and I hanging out doing whatever we please. Routine like that can be comforting or it can be stagnant, stifling and spirit-crushing. So I’m shaking things up a bit.
Change doesn’t have to come in a huge package all at once, it can happen a little at a time. But it won’t happen at all if you don’t take that sidestep off the usual path. I’m in the process of taking some small steps and some huge leaps at the same time. I figure between the tiny and the gigantic, I’ll achieve balance. The small change I’ve made to my routine, or perhaps it’s really quite a big change, is that I’m trying to learn Spanish. I took French in high school and was awful at it. I then took Latin as an elective and while that helped me understand the origin of many languages, it’s not something commonly spoken or exactly useful in daily life.
I can have all sorts of crazy facts and ideas in my head but something about learning a second language gets things all kinked up in the filing cabinets of my mind. I haven’t exactly purchased a whole bunch of textbooks to learn Spanish but I don’t think that makes my effort any less worthwhile. I’ve downloaded a couple apps to my Android and I use them daily to try to help things sink in. One of them is called Span¡shD!ct and I found the online version of it very helpful for translating phrases from English to Spanish. I don’t really know if the Spanish phrases are 100% correct so I hope I’m not insulting an entire language. The Span¡shD!ct app has a word quiz where the better I do, the harder the words become. I get going pretty well and then a word I’ve seen 100 times trips me up and I get knocked back down three levels. Somewhat frustrating but sometimes making mistakes is the best way I learn.
The other app I downloaded to my phone is the Rosetta Stone free app and I find it a rather nice app. I think I’ll have to go through the lessons several times for any of it to properly sink in, but I’ll get there. The Rosetta Stone app has sections where it prompts me to say the word and this all works great except when the speaker rolls their Rs. I can’t roll my Rs and I actually had to go to speech classes in grade school for help with my Rs. I feel bad that I can’t roll my Rs. I can curl my tongue but I can’t roll my Rs which just seems silly. I suppose those two things have nothing to do with each other…except that they involve my tongue.
I hope that learning Spanish will be like a lot of other things I’ve learned in my life. I go along for quite a while and I just can’t get it. This was true of swimming, driving stick and finding the proper jumping rhythm for horseback riding. Then one day it all just suddenly clicked and I could do it. Sometimes I have a dream about something and wake up knowing exactly what I need to do and sometimes all the mental connections just finally sync up, spark together and ta-da! I can swim! Or ride a bike, or flip an omelette without wearing it, etc. I do love when my mind works like that!
Until that bright light switch finally flips on in my head though, I’ll continue my daily learning with my Spanish apps. I don’t know that I’ll ever be brave enough to speak Spanish for fear of mutilating it but hopefully I’ll be able to understand it when I hear it. That in itself will make me quite happy and prove that I’m not as predictable as some people might think and that I’m always full of surprises!