Tag Archives: awesome

Best Things I’ve Done: Learning A New Language.

Update! For an in-depth guide on getting started with languages, check out How To Become A Polyglot.

I first started learning English in school at the age of 6 and French at the age of 12, but I never became fluent in any of those languages until I finally understood the real benefits of speaking those languages.

The moment I realised I really wanted to become fluent in English was when I was watching Blade Runner in said language with Spanish subtitles and I understood one line they said, then read the subtitle line and said “but it’s not the same thing he said!”. In that moment I noticed that there are certain thoughts and messages that can only be expressed in one language. Every time I watch now a film in English with subtitles (when I watch it with someone else) I can see the subs say the same thing the characters say, but it’s not quite the same thing. Many deep levels of film lines are lost in translation.

But then it hit me even harder: “Wait. What about books? All my favourite books are in English!”. Now I really, really had to learn English.

The same thing happened to me with French. I wanted to read Jules Verne and many other writers as they originally intended their thoughts and words. I don’t want to risk missing anything. I don’t believe in translations any more. Lately, I’ve been thinking how great it would be to read Solaris in Polish. It’s one of my favourite novels so it might be worth it.

But there’s one more wonderful thing about foreign languages. It’s the moment you realize you can actually think in a different language. You have to experience that (it sounds like Also Sprach Zarathustra and it feels like awesome). no more translating word-by-word in your head before speaking. Now you are expressing yourself with a whole new set of words and even different rules. Along the lines of the previous idea, you are thinking differently. Such a great brain exercise, isn’t it? You may even be able to express ideas you couldn’t express before. The more languages you speak, the better you understand yourself. It’s like learning new vocabulary, but in a whole new level: learning new syntaxes.

Also, you feel like you understand something you previously didn’t. When you translate in a language word-by-word, you don’t quite think of it as anything more than a different set of words, but when you use it in your head, to think, it’s an eureka moment. That set of strange words and rules finally make sense.

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Places I Like: The Wood

Bamboo forest, somewhere in the world.

Maybe it is the way the random dispositions of the trees suggest paths to follow. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of not knowing how deep it is, or the excitement of finding out what’s on the other side.  Be it for one reason or another, forests are awesome.

When I go to a forest sometimes I carry a GPS device like my phone to know how to get out of it. Sometimes I don’t, because as I said, the trees suggest paths. When I don’t, I carry pen and paper and make my own map of the forest, using the “weird trees”, rocks or anything non-tree as reference points. It’s great. I did this while growing up on Uruguay with my two best friends. We made a map of a huge forest near to our houses and buried some “treasures” on it. I still keep the map and will go look for what we buried someday, mostly because I can’t remember what it was 🙂

Another great thing to do in a forest is explore and see what you find. You can do that everywhere, to be fair. A wood is just one more awesome place to explore: think of all the fascinating plants and animals! Also, a forest is a great place to hide things, so it’s possible that people have hidden things in there 😉

Above you can see the photo of a bamboo forest: you can’t deny the beauty of the scenery, specially in winter. Check out some of the forests I want to visit around the world:

Mysterious shoot of a forest in Alsace, France.

Can you imagine how many mysteries wait to be solved in this blurry woodland? Awesome!

Oak forest in Wisconsin, USA

What about this winter landscape? Has to be scary at night! I can imagine thousands of stories happening in that place.

Rainforest in Malaysia

So beautiful! I’ve always wanted to cross one of those little waterfalls. Rainforests are a great place to play and get inspired.

Hope you liked, thanks for reading! 🙂

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Filed under Places I Like