As some of you know, I’ve had my head down working hard writing my Tagalog Textbook since returning from my last trip 5 months ago. I finally finished, and it was a really strange feeling; nothing to do. I felt great, but I could only handle about 2 days of it before I decided to plan my annual escape from the cold weather.
I’m pleased to announce my Travel Plans for this cycle.
Dec – Feb: Thailand
I went to Korea, Thailand and the Philippines last year, so the big change this time is Tanzania. I was a Peace Corps volunteer there 1999-2002 and I haven’t been back since. My Swahili is all but forgotten now, so I have made the decision to study it in Thailand in hopes of having my old level back by the time I leave for Tanzania. That might be too much to hope for, but I’m going to try.
The reason I’m going back is to see the school that Language Tools has donated money to build. It’s under heavy construction now, and it’s supposed to open in January. It’s in the middle of nowhere and I’m very excited to see it. On Google Maps it doesn’t show up yet, of course, but this is where it will be. Those circles are Maasai villages.
But that’s not my only language goal. I wanted to announce and make a big deal out of my plan in Korea so that I’ll actually go through with it. I’m going to try to do a 1 hour skype conversation, and memorize the unknown vocabulary, every day that I’m there. This is because in the past I studied very little while in country. But I noticed that when I did study it really helped with my conversation. The combination of being immersed and studying on the same day seems to be very effective, so I want to see how good I can get.
And in the Philippines I want to study too. I finally have the tool that I need – my own textbook. It was the missing piece of the puzzle that prevented me from quickly mastering the ability to change verb focus easily, which is the most tricky part of Tagalog for me. I have the tool, so I’ll take advantage of immersion to actually put it to use.
Of course I’m going to Speak Thai to the locals when I’m there; I doubt if I’ll run into any Swahili speakers on the street. I actually haven’t done a spurt in Thai for a long time; I think it’s been 4 or 5 years. I study it off and on, but only about once every 2 weeks when it’s “on”. I just don’t need to because of my almost annual 3 month visits to Thailand.
I’m very excited. I’ll keep you appraised of my progress.