Dear Reader, I haven’t been feeling well lately and haven’t had much energy to write. I will write about last weekend’s escapades tomorrow. I feel a little better tonight, so I think the worst has passed (I hope). When I get sick, I usually recover in about four to five days. I spent some time at my desk today finishing some lingering projects, including the course I’ve been teaching, performance metrics, and an economic assignment. I also saw some photos of our housing in Asuncion, Paraguay, our next destination. The housing in Asuncion–at least the exterior–is absolutely amazing. Seeing where we will be living really helped lift my spirits today. People say that once you know your next assignment, you start mentally disengaging from your current one. In a sense, that’s very true. I’m already planning in my mind some of the steps we need to take to leave Korea and head to our next destination. In just 11 months, I am scheduled to depart from Seoul, and the time will pass very, very quickly.
I signed up for a self-study Spanish course, the same one I signed up for in mid-2005 and then canceled because I had already qualified for a short Spanish language course. I dropped the course because I did not want to study Spanish, take the Spanish language exam, then score worse than my previous score, thereby disqualifying myself from Spanish-language assignments, including the job in Paraguay. Now that I know I am headed to a Spanish-speaking country and need to become fluent in Spanish by June 2007, I need to get serious about improving my Spanish speaking and reading skills. I will only be in the U.S. for about four months (from February until June). We will be on home leave for 40 days, and then I receive one month of specialized training starting in April 2007. That leaves just two months, or less than eight weeks, to acquire fluency in Spanish. While English speakers can quickly learn Spanish, it would be foolhardly to assume that eight weeks is enough to achieve fluency. Hence, I seriously need to study Spanish from now until I leave Korea. I started studying it again last week and discovered a renewed interest in language learning. I had forgotten how much fun it can be to learn a foreign language! Having progressed from Spanish and French to German, and then on to Chinese and Korean (learning none of them well), I lost my desire to learn languages as they became increasingly complicated. Learning Korean was brutal. Learning a relatively easy foreign language such as Spanish is reinvigorating. In fact, I think I’ll say goodnight and crack open my Spanish book for a few minutes before I fall asleep. Every little bit helps.