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My New Trip

Well, I have already mentioned that I love travelling. This time my relatives have organised a trip to Pereslavl-Zalessky (town in Russia). It is famous for its Orthodox architecture. I am not Orthodox so I hope my relatives won’t force me to study Orthodox culture too much. But, anyway, they have promised me that there will be lots of fun, good food and coffee (which I love as much as travelling). I hope it is true. I hope this trip won’t disappoint me. Also, I’ll post some photos later as I come to this town. I am on my way!

Learning a New Language: My Progress in German and ...Hebrew? | 01.19

I have always been fond of languages. It has always been something I had success in learning.  Growing up in a multicultural and bilingual environment has given my language learning abilities a major push forward, for which I will forever remain grateful. Exposure to American cartoons has no doubt made its mark and by the age of 7, I was fluent in three languages: Russian, Lithuanian and English. I continued learning all three of them over the following years up until the very point of my final high school exams in detail and have never had a mere thought of the process being tedious or boring.

But it’s languages. I thought. /How can it not seem fascinating? Look at the grammar, look at the sentence structure, look at the word history! Long story short, I was a nerd.  This obsession with linguistics from a young age has backstabbed me massively when I started learning German. But I will touch on this a bit later.

Speaking three languages has always been something that I took for granted. For as long as I could remember, I knew what to say, how to say it, etc. Yes, I was learning grammar and literature at school but I never had to put any actual effort into figuring out the language itself because it was always in my head. So, having this skill was never something special to me and one of those things I would put on a /“fun facts about me”/ list. Good to know but nothing extraordinary.  It was only in my second year of university, when I decided to get a language teacher qualification alongside my studies (hell knows why I thought that was a good idea, I had tons of other stuff to do besides that anyway), when I was forced to look at my native language from a linguistic perspective. It wasn’t high school, nobody was playing. This was about getting a professional qualification that could possibly open even more doors for me in the future, that is if I decided that filming PR ads wasn’t making me feel weak in the knees anymore.  

I had rediscovered my language and fallen in love with it all over again. That is when I realised that perhaps there has always been something special that made me come back to languages over and over again. Which inspired me to try and learn a new one. I was at the point when there was nothing new I could take either from Russian, or Lithuanian, or English. There was nowhere I could progress further. “Time to learn a fourth language”, I thought. The time has come.

German

I came to Germany with one purpose and one purpose only. To learn the language. I knew it was not going to be an easy journey but I had no idea how hard it will end up being.  Actually though, what was I even expecting?

  • It took me around 4-5 months to start feeling more or less confident of my whereabouts in a language. After all the intensive courses that I had + a follow-up course, I finally started noticing that I am automatically able to recall basic everyday phrases without giving it too much thought.
  • I have never felt less confident in myself when having any sorts of social encounters with the native speakers. Because I never knew what it was like and then I suddenly did. In fact, today was the day I have had my first normal conversation in German at a post office. I forced myself to not switch to English and try and play it safe but to ask for what I want in German. Because about time. Because I should know this. And because having insecurities about my pronunciation is a pretty dumb excuse to have at this point. I said what I had to say. I thought I looked like an idiot. I almost had a panic attack. But nothing happened. The sky didn’t fall and the lady at the counter didn’t bat an eye at me fumbling with words. I felt much better. I want to try again. You have to go through this experience in order to move forward. The good thing is, it can only get better from here.
  • German articles are the definition of pain. Der, die, das, den, den, des… I have had a few nightmares involving those already.  God bless Russian for not having any articles and these have nearly pushed me to the edge of giving up so many time in the past semester. Which brings me to my next point.
  • Sometimes courses are simply not enough and no matter how skilled in language learning you think you are, you have to sit yourself down and do extra work. Such a simple truth but I came to Germany being too confident in my abilities. Like I pointed out before, I have no idea what I was expecting in the first place. 
  • Procrastination will ruin your life. Pretty much applies to everything. And if you are like me and suffering from procrastinating on literally anything, don’t. Like, just don’t. There has come a point when I had to force myself to sit down and study, to find relevant material, to make charts.  All of this is something I like doing in general but the hardest thing ever is to start. However, there is no better feeling when after a long day of studying you open your book and do an assignment you previously were so confused about all by yourself. Small victories, small achievements, small steps forward. It made me truly proud in the end.

Hebrew

I honestly do not know how this happened. In fact, this whole thing started today and it was, in fact, what inspired me to write this blog post. I’ve studied German for a few hours in the morning, i went about my day, then I got bored. One moment I was scrolling my Instagram feed and the next thing I knew, I was learning the Hebrew alphabet. And I was having the time of my life.

  • Why Hebrew? Because why not?  I already knew enough basic words to have a basic conversation (I visit my family in Israel several times a year) but I still can’t read or write. I thought, “Might as well, can’t get any harder than German at this point.” So here I am, making cards with Hebrew letters to practise later.  It went surprisingly well.
  • Why now? Absolutely no idea. But in any case, it’s useful knowledge to have. I am going to continue learning it alongside German and see what progress I make over the next few months. I have already noticed that my memory has become much better then it was before I came to Germany and language learning definitely contributes to that. And, most importantly, it’s massive fun. (At least for me.)

Language learning can be an extremely useful hobby if one has the capabilities or passion to make it one.  This language journey has made me realise the potential I did not know I had, inspire to find out more about customers and cultures through the prism of a language and overcome some of my anxieties. I look forward to every time I am about to start studying and I genuinely enjoy every single time because every single time I become better at writing, speaking, studying and being more organized. And this feeling of personal fulfilment contributes to my overall state of happiness while living in a foreign country.


Have you gone through similar experiences while trying to learn a foreign language? Would love to hear your stories! Also, if you have any tips on making language learning more efficient (websites, apps, studying tips) feel free to share! .x

A.

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Happy Friday!!!!!! 💙🤟🏻🌏
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The art of naming airports

You may not know Louisville, Kentucky. It is one of those cities that make a fleeting appearance on the inflight sky map between New York and Dallas or Chicago and Atlanta. But you will certainly have heard of its most celebrated citizen: Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr was born in the city 77 years ago this week, and later became Muhammed Ali.

Two years after his death, the heavyweight boxer and humanitarian is to be celebrated in the name of the local Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. (The “international,” by the way, is wishful thinking: the current route network goes no further south than Texas and Florida, and no further north than Minneapolis.)

For a middle-sized city on the Kentucky-Indiana border, it is a smart move; the change was made after research showed that Mr Ali enjoyed rather more global recognition than Louisville.

Almost every US airport seems to be named after someone, though usually a local worthy like the 1930s New York police chief Fiorello La Guardia rather than a global statesman like John F Kennedy.

Rome has Leonardo da Vinci, Tirana owns Mother Teresa and Paris is synonymous with Charles de Gaulle.

Goodness knows why Amsterdam has not ditched the difficult-to-spell-and-pronounce Schiphol in favour of Rembrandt or Anne Frank.

Simon Bolivar, the liberator, is celebrated in the name of multiple airports in South America.

Yet in the UK you can count the number of airports named for people on the digits of a three-toed sloth: George Best Belfast City, Liverpool John Lennon and Robin Hood Doncaster-Sheffield.

We should do more. In time, I believe Heathrow will become Queen Elizabeth II Airport – a much better name than that of the tiny hamlet, Heath Row, which was long obliterated beneath Europe’s busiest airport.

“East Midlands” means little to anyone outside the Derby, Leicester and Nottingham triangle. But local boy Thomas Cook (born in Derbyshire, worked in Leicestershire) is globally recognised as the father of modern travel. The only objections I foresee are from Jet2 and TUI, who will not enjoy selling flights and holidays that depart from an airport named after an arch rival.

Glasgow Airport could adopt Andy Murray, who was born in the city, while nearby Prestwick should open negotiations with Elvis Presley Enterprises: the singer touched down at the Ayrshire airport in 1960. If that doesn’t work, Robbie Burns (who has no corporation guarding his name) will suffice.

The practice will not work everywhere. Manchester has the benefit of two giant football teams. Celebrating the suffragette born nearby, Emmeline Pankhurst, may serve only to confuse travellers. And London City Airport says what it is; adding the name of someone who was born in the vicinity, such as the Eastenders actor Danny Dyer, will not necessarily increase its awareness with the international financiers who are the target travellers.

But Birmingham Airport can make a legitimate claim for William Shakespeare’s name, since Stratford-upon-Avon is only 20 miles away. London Oxford, which isn’t really anywhere near London nor a thriving airport, might do better under the name of Winston Churchill or Stephen Hawking Airport, both born nearby.

The biggest prize for airports short on recognition are fictional creations by British writers.

James Bond should be grabbed quickly: Hamburg, Miami, Nassau and Prague airports have all appeared in 007 movies and may have their eyes on the spy, as might Kingston, Jamaica – close to where Ian Fleming created his hero.

Inverness, which I assess as the closest airport to Hogwarts School, must surely become Harry Potter International Airport. And at the same time, Exeter – where the writer studied – would win more recognition on the world stage if its airport took the name of J K Rowling.

Man jumps from 11th floor of world's largest cruise ship in Instagram stunt

A passenger jumped from the 11th floor of the world’s largest cruise ship in an attempt to go viral on Instagram.

American Nick Naydev, 27, jumped 30 metres from the 1,120-foot-long Royal Caribbean ship while friends filmed the stunt.

The Symphony of the Seas ship was docked in Nassau, Bahamas, at the time.

The video has since been watched more than 150,000 times on Instagram, with commentators labelling Naydev “stupid” and “crazy”. One user even called him “Colin from Bandersnatch”, in a nod to the Netflix episode of Black Mirror where a character jumps from a balcony.

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Full send

A post shared by Nick Naydev (@naydev91) on Jan 11, 2019 at 11:28am PST

“I was still drunk from the previous night,” Naydev wrote in the comments under the video. “When I woke up I just decided to jump.”

When asked if he realised if he could’ve died, Naydev responded: “Honestly didn’t really think about it.”

He also admitted he was in a lot of pain.

“When I sobered up my back started hurting pretty bad. Could barely walk for three days.”

Naydev was picked up by a small boat and taken back to the ship, where he then said that he was “kicked off” and had to get a flight back to Miami.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean called the stunt “stupid and reckless”, and that “he and his companions have been banned from ever sailing with us again”. The cruise line added: “We are exploring legal action.”

The Symphony of the Seas is the largest passenger ship in the world, weighing more than 220,000 tonnes across 18 decks. The ship can accommodate almost 7,000 passengers as well as 2,200 crew members.

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Safest countries to travel in 2019. Check it out!