Learning a Language with a Job

It isn't that I've never worked before, it's that I'm sorta lazy.

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

Finding time to learn something while working isn’t easy. This week I started a new job and I had to change how I study. I have less free time, so it was necessary to reduce the amount of time per day I spent studying. Doing something like this is a common problem. Okay, that sounds like I wasn’t working before, and really, I’ve worked the entire running time of this blog. It’s just that the type of job is very different. I now work at a financial company, I have normal hours, and a very rigid and predictable schedule. I was a driver before, I worked for myself, with an unpredictable schedule and with a lot of free time. The new job’s better in almost every way, but my free time has disappeared.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend so much time learning Spanish thus far, and I’m happy with my progress and work ethic. There were good and bad days, and good and bad weeks, but I never lost sight of my goals. And despite my new schedule and different priorities, I’ll continue to work and learn Spanish, to the best of my abilities. But, I’ll need to change the way I do it.

I tried to keep my daily goals for most of the week. Two and a half hours isn’t a cakewalk, but it isn’t something really difficult either. But I quickly realized that I no longer have enough time each day to continue with that level of work. I can read a little at work, during lunch or breaks, and I can play podcasts during my commute. If I’m lucky, I can study for an hour, an hour and a half, which isn’t bad, but afterwards everything gets more complicated. I have to have dinner, get ready for work the next day, do some chores, and I want to hang out with friends sometimes. And I also want to do other things, I like to write, draw, and paint. When I was a driver, there were several hours for that kind of thing, but not anymore. I could fit in two and a half hours of learning, but I felt like I was running all the time and couldn’t do anything else. So I knew it was time to change my goals.

Last week I knew I’d probably have to do this, it isn’t something unexpected. In the last blog I said I was going to judge how everything goes during the week. I have less time now, simple as that. But, like most people who want to learn new languages, I don’t want to stop studying Spanish completely. I like Spanish, I like the learning process, and I wouldn’t want to forget everything I know. That’d be depressing.

Sometimes making changes like this is necessary. I am appreciative of my luck to have spent as much time on it as I did, but going forward, I have to spend less time on it, each day and each week, because there are other important things to do.

That said, I want to learn more and improve my Spanish. The new job has some departments for Spanish speakers, and it would be nice if I could join one of them. I’m not going anywhere, I’m here for the long haul.

Now, let’s see the week’s numbers.

Tuesday 11/12

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 9% of A Todo Vapor, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Ho Hay Tos, 1 episode of Arte Divierte, 1 episode of She-Ra, ~60 minutes

Wednesday 11/13

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of A Todo Vapor, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of TED en Español, 1 episode of DiSimphony, ~90 minutes

Thursday 11/14

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of A Todo Vapor, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Kiwillius, 1 episode of She-Ra, 1 episode of La Zona Cero, 1 episode of TED en Español, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 11/15

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of A Todo Vapor, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 11/16

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 3% of A Todo Vapor, ~30 minutes
  • Writing: 1100 words written, ~150 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 11/17

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of A Todo Vapor, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, 1 episode of She-Ra, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 11/18

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of A Todo Vapor, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 2/5 books, 420 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 8 YouTube episodes, 4 podcasts, and 2 tv episodes, 450 minutes
  • Total writing: 1100 words written, 150 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 hours 0 minutes

As I said earlier, a less busy week than the last one, or even the Spanish entry las month. I’ve reduced my goal to two hours during the week, although the weekend is going to stay at two and a half hours, since I don’t have to go to work those days. If I need to reduce my daily goal further, I will, but I think this schedule is sustainable.

I listened to more TED en Español podcasts this week, because I could listen to them while driving to and from work, but I listened to some YouTube videos as well. I couldn’t see the videos, obviously (I mean, I was driving), but the sound over bluetooth in my car sounds very clear and loud.

I am enjoying reading A Todo Vapor. It’s the penultimate Discworld book, and the way it’s written feels like Terry Pratchett knew it. It has so many characters from previous books, and the scope covers almost all of Discworld. It makes me happy, but also melancholic. I’ll miss the series.

On Duolingo this week, someone asked about the difference between “do not” and “don’t,” and the truth is that there is no difference… except that there is. Sort of. Look, there isn’t any real difference, you can use either one interchangeably, but, “Do not,” is a little more formal and can be stronger than don’t. If you say “Don’t do that,” or “Do not do that,” they both mean “No hagas eso,” but the latter implies that you really mean it. That said, the tone of voice changes the meaning more than if you use “do not” or “don’t.” English is so confusing.

Well, I think I’m going to leave this blog here. TTFN.

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