It’s the Season of Challenges

The problem with challenges is that they're always so challenging.

(This blog is the English translation of this week’s primary blog, which was originally written in Spanish.)

This time of year always feels like it’s the season of challenges. October is the month of tintubre/inktober and November is NaNoWriMo/Mes Nacional de Escribir Novelas, so you can’t go anywhere on the internet without finding someone trying to challenge themselves. It’s inspiring, and it makes me want to challenge myself.

Last year, I participated in NaNoWriMo, at least in a modified manner, because I didn’t want to drop this project while writing a novel. That experience was fun and rewarding, and I have been thinking about doing it again this year. The time of year has also made me think about other challenges, including those that have something to do with language learning.

A lot of people talk about the Reto de Añadir Uno, or the Add One Challenge. The idea is to spend ninety days studying a completely new language. During that time, you should only focus on the new language, and try to improve your level of understanding as much as possible. Nobody expects to become an advanced speaker or anything, but anyone can improve a lot in three months. I think the Add One Challenge is a very interesting competition, but I’ve never considered trying. But I’m not sure that I shouldn’t do it soon.

There are two aspects about language learning that make me think trying the challenge is a good idea. The first is that there are people who swear that taking a break from a language has benefits. They say the brain keeps learning, and a break can help in some way. Maybe the brain needs time to absorb information, or rest makes you more comfortable with the language, I don’t know. It could also be that these people are wrong, and a break doesn’t do anything to you except make you stop working for a while, but there’s nothing to make me think that this is a more valid possibility than the other options.

The second aspect’s that I am very curious about how much I could learn in three months. The first months of this project were not very successful, but at that time I didn’t know how to learn languages ​​very well. Now I have a lot of experience, and I think I could go a long way if I tried. I even have a new language for the challenge, a conlang (constructed language) called Toki Pona. Toki Pona is perfect for a challenge like Add One, because it is a minimalist language with only 118 words. In most cases of the challenge, the person would never expect to be fluent after three months, but with Toki Pona, becoming fluent isn’t an unrealistic goal.

That said, I’m not sure I want to do a challenge now, or even in a few months. My level of Spanish is improving little by little, and I feel like I’m going to reach a very good point soon. My biggest problem has been my listening comprehension, where I could read Spanish quite well, but I had trouble trying to listen to it. But over the past month, I had fewer problems with that. Really, I’m still having problems, but there are fewer. Shows like Diablero or Club de Cuervos are easier to understand, and there are more and more YouTube shows that I can understand. I think I will be ready to work on speaking very soon.

Maybe after a few months, when I’m happy with a basic level of speaking, it’ll be time to try a challenge. But for now, I’ll continue with my Spanish studies.

OK, let’s look at this week’s numbers.

Tuesday 10/08

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of Me Vestiré de Medianoche, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 4 episodes of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Disenchantment, 1 episode of La Zona Cero,1 episode of Arte Divierte, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 10/09

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 9% of Me Vestiré de Medianoche, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 3 episodes of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Andrea Ga, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 10/10

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of Me Vestiré de Medianoche, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 3 episodes of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of RicharBetaCode, 1 episode of Bl3sSuR, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 10/11

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 9% of Me Vestiré de Medianoche, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Andrea Ga, 2 episodes of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 10/12

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of Me Vestiré de Medianoche, ~30 minutes
  • Writing: 1100 words written, ~150 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 10/13

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of Me Vestiré de Medianoche, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 10/14

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 9% of Me Vestiré de Medianoche, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 4 episodes of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/2 books, 480 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 18 YouTube episodes, 1 podcast, and 8 television episodes, 450 minutes
  • Total writing: 1100 words written, 150 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 hours 0 minutes

A typical week. A few weeks ago, I decided to reduce my daily goal to two and a half hours for a while. The reason for that is that I quit smoking in September, and since then, I have had some problems with anxiety. Those problems are slowly reducing, but I still have them now, so the goal is two and a half hours still.

I’m almost done with Me Vestiré de Medianoche, and afterwards there are only three more books in the series. That makes me anxious too. I’m going to get depressed when I’m done with the series. I have no idea what I will read next. Why are there not infinite Discworld books? It’s not fair.

I found some new YouTube channels this week. Bl3sSuR makes videos about pokemon, and I’m not sure if I will continue watching his videos or not, but I watch other pokemon players in English sometimes, so I’m going to give it a few chances. On the other hand, Kiwillius is definitely my style. I am sure that his videos will show up in this blog in the future.

On Duolingo this week, someone asked about the difference between ‘other’ and ‘another.’ Those words work like otro in Spanish, but both are used in different situations. “Another” is used when the noun doesn’t have an article, and “other” is used when there is an article or if the noun is plural: another piece, the other piece, other pieces. Meanwhile in Spanish, only otro is used in any context. Sometimes Spanish makes much more sense than English.

Finally, you may have noticed that I ‘ve changed the blog’s artwork, and you may be curious why. I drew the artwork a year ago, and I drew it in a hurry, because I wanted to have a logo or something to post along with the blogs, and I thought I’d replace it with a different drawing after a while. Well, that “while” turned into a year very quickly, and I‘ve used the same art the whole time. I wanted to change it in order to have something new that looks more professional, and because the drawing was a version of me that isn’t really me. I haven’t talked about the subject on this site, but I am transgender. It took more than thirty years before I could accept it, but I accept it now, and I am starting transitioning.

I don’t plan to talk about that topic a ton, because it’s got nothing to do with the subject of the blog. And the name ‘bats,’ which means murciélagos in Spanish, is not a name that sounds masculine or feminine, so I’m not going to change it here. Basically, nothing’s going to change here, except artwork so as to not show a manface that isn’t really me anymore, and I’m going to use female adjectives when I write in Spanish. I’m willing to answer questions on the subject if you’re curious. I’m not very shy, I’d like to talk. But, with that said, I won’t tolerate harassment or bullying—I’m not stupid, I know what the internet is like, especially with transgender people—so if you want to start trouble, I won’t hesitate to delete hostile comments or ban anyone. But again, if you want to talk to me, I’m happy to do it. I also know that it’s not all of the internet that’s like that.

That information bomb aside, I’m going to end this blog here. TTFN.

2 thoughts on “It’s the Season of Challenges

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