Taking A Break From Spanish: The Results

And here I thought that breaks were supposed to be, like, relaxing...

So this is the second week after my mini Add1 Challenge working on Toki Pona and switching back to focusing on Spanish.  Two weeks is a pretty solid amount of time to stretch my legs and get back in the swing of things, and it was what I figured would be an appropriate amount of time to judge how things were going for me.  Part of why I took the challenge in the first place was to enforce a “break” on my Spanish learning through that time, because there’s always talk of taking breaks and coming back fresh to a language.  You’ll continue working on things subconsciously, they say, so once you return you’ll find things have smoothed out and gotten easier on their own.

Now, I have no expectation that this experience I’ve gone through is any definitive “test” on this idea, for a multitude of reasons.  My Spanish is already rather advanced, and most of the time this topic of conversation seems to be aimed at an earlier stage of learning.  Additionally, while I dropped the focused media consumption for the four weeks, I didn’t drop the language, as half my Twitter feed’s in Spanish, I hang out in Spanish speaking Discord servers, and if nothing else I used Duolingo every day.  It’s a bit of a challenge for me to cut Spanish out entirely these days.  Plus, like, I’m just some random girl, what works or doesn’t work for me isn’t the definitive proof of a theory.  So all that put together, did I notice an improvement after the month-long break?

Eh, not really.  At the start, there was an immediate sense of advancement, just as a result of how much easier it was to read and listen to Spanish compared to Toki Pona, but after the sense of relief from being back in comfortable ground had a chance to fade, I can’t say there’s much of a difference.

I certainly didn’t forget anything, which is a fear that people have about taking breaks, so there’s that at least.  It might be hard for me to actually forget much with Spanish at this point, since I’m as far along as I am, but either which way there wasn’t a period of ramping back up or anything.  Everything else felt similarly not changed, though, as I’m not finding anything particularly easier.  I’m still having the same struggles with listening comprehension as before, where I can basically understand everything I come across, but have an important percentage of nuance and specificity that comes across as noise still.  I have been in this same boat for at least a year now, which sounds like I’m spinning my wheels, but I can tell that I am improving.  This step is just real freaking slow, so there’s not much to be done except keep trudging.

Ultimately, I’m not disappointed by these results, as I wasn’t really expecting much, and overall this hasn’t resulted in much of a change of plans for me going forward.  It would have been nice for the higher end static that’s still holding me back to have cleared up in that month, but it would be silly to have expected that to happen, so I wasn’t banking on it.  All that I can really do at this point is to put in the time and wait for the work to bear fruit.

Secondly, and interestingly enough for this topic, I happened to have an inverse test as well.  After about a week and a half not looking at Toki Pona again, I put in some more time on that language over the weekend.  I’m still hammering out the details on my approach to working on both languages at once, so I’m unsure if this week’s numbers breakdown is going to be a good example of what things’ll look like going forward, but I digress.  I picked up some Toki Pona stuff again and spent a modest amount of time going over it.  The preliminary results of that experience are that I thankfully didn’t immediately forget everything from the month of work, but that sitting on it doesn’t seem to have sparked any epiphanies for me, either.

This part is still probably too early to really judge, as it was a cursory glance through everything, but I think it bodes well going forward.  I don’t feel particularly put out from “dropping” a bit of Spanish for the day I worked on it, and if the lip-service effort does nothing else but preserve the work I’ve already put in, that’s a success in my book.  I think I’ll likely end up shifting to a higher mix of the two languages as time goes on here as to hopefully see some slow growth in the Toki Pona realm as well, but this was the right speed for this specific week.

Anyway, two weeks back and immersed in Spanish yet again, I can happily reaffirm my satisfaction with this whole experiment.  It was a fun and much needed change of pace for me, that gave me a grounding in a brand new language that I hope to develop, and reignited my inspiration for the main language I’ve been working on over the lifetime of this blog.  Can’t complain about that one bit.

Now then let’s look at this week’s numbers.

Tuesday 7/28

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1% of El Ojo del Mundo, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of BNA, 1 episode of Arte Divierte, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 7/29

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of El Ojo del Mundo, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of BNA, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 7/30

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of El Ojo del Mundo, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of BNA, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 7/31

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of El Ojo del Mundo, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of BNA, 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 8/01

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: A Monologue to Learn Toki Pona, ~30 minutes (Toki Pona)
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of La Zona Cero, 1 episode of Alfrely, ~120 minutes

Sunday 8/02

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 1% of El Ojo del Mundo, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of BNA, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, 2 episodes of Alfrely,  ~120 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 8/03

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of El Ojo del Mundo, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Gravity Falls, 1 episode of Alfrely, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/10 books read, 420 minutes + 30 minutes (Toki Pona)
  • Total watching/listening: 10 YouTube episodes and 11 television episodes watched, 540 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 180 minutes
  • Total Time: 16 hours 30 minutes

A solid week overall.  Work was a little uneven and wonky at times, so I didn’t have ideal days every day, but I’m making good progress on El Ojo del Mundo, which is one of the longer books I’ve read in a while.  It started off a little dry, but it’s been picking up speed as it’s gone on.  Which is good, considering the length, if it stayed dry I’d probably have to give up before I got mired in something this long.

I finished BNA this week, and definitely enjoyed it, though not as much as some of the other recent shows I’ve watched.  Not knocking it, mind you, it just has some steep competition considering stuff like She-Ra and Beastars.  With it off my plate, I returned to Gravity Falls as my ‘watch some tv’ show to fall back on, though I hear a new season of Aggretsuko is coming out soon, so I get to look forward to that.

Also, thanks to a collab podcast with La Zona Cero, I found my way to the youtube channel Alfrely, which is right in my wheelhouse of interests, and seems to be a bit more on the prolific side of production compared to most of my other Spanish language youtube subscriptions, so overall a good add for me.

This weekend also capped off the end of July, so let’s look at those numbers as a whole.  Get ready for a weird one.


  • Total Duolingo: 620 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 10 tv episodes and 26 youtube videos watched, 730 minutes
  • Total Reading: 1/5 whole books read, 900 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 330 minutes
  • Total Time: 27 hours 10 minutes

Toki Pona

  • Total Studying (visual): 5 online lessons read, 60 minutes
  • Total Studying (Aural): 12 video lessons watched, 60 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 10 youtube videos watched, 30 minutes
  • Total Reading: 1 whole book, 61 chapters, 4 short stories, 1 comic, and various social media posts read, 1,530 minutes
  • Total Time: 28 hours 0 minutes

Combined Total Time: 55 hours 10 minutes

And here’s the breakdown for money spent.

  • El Ojo del Mundo, Fiction, ebook, Amazon, $7.27
  • Netflix Subscription Standard HD Plan, Television and Movie Streaming, $10.99 per month, $10.99
  • Disney+ Subscription, Television and Movie Streaming, $6.99 per month, $6.99
  • Amount Spent on Fiction Books: $7.27
  • Amount Spent on Services: $17.98
  • Total Spent: $25.25

Don’t have much to say on these numbers, since I really can’t pull any trends from them.  It’s a pretty low one in raw time, thanks to how much more brain intensive a beginning language is compared to an advanced one sucking up all my energy, and some usual constants are all out of whack.

Some constants do stay the same, though, and my lackluster writing performance this year has remained as strong as ever, getting down 7,542 words for blogs and nothing for fiction.  There is definitely a free pass on it from me for this month, considering I was working on an entirely new language for most of it, but I’m beginning to feel like it’s time to put my fingers to the keyboard soon and get out some honest to goodness fiction before 2020 ends up being entirely dry.  I’m still not feeling it much, though.  We shall see.

Anyway, that’ll do for this one.  TTFN.

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