The latest thing that I am challenging myself with is learning Italian. I know, random right? Since finishing up 8 years of college, back in 2002, I haven't taken any classes and it feels like my brain is slowing down. I miss being able to learn new things and decided that learning languages might be fun.
Growing up in the US, of course I learned how to speak American/English. My parents are Chinese so I also picked up Mandarin. Granted, I only understand it now and can't really speak it that well. I have an embarrassingly awful American accent when I attempt to speak. It's actually a little fun because most people assume I don't understand Chinese so I get to eavesdrop. Heh heh. I took a total of about 10 years of Spanish and was fairly fluent at one time. However, because I never use it, it has mostly left my brain. Again, I understand more than I can speak. It's easier for me to translate things as opposed to coming up with the words. Make sense?
SO, about a year ago I tried to pick up Turkish. Now, the problem with trying to learn Turkish when you live in the Ozarks is.....there is no one to speak with. I had to try and pick it up from friends online and a few websites. I really tried learning for about 3 months but had to give up. The problem was, I knew how to write the words but had no idea how they sounded. That tends to be a problem. LOL SO, I could write to friends but couldn't speak to someone if I ran into a random Turkish person in Branson.
I have decided to challenge myself to learn another language and stick with it this time. I'm attempting Italian because it's similar to Spanish. Hopefully that will make it a little easier for me. After watching cycling for so many years I have always wanted to learn either French or Italian, so.....Italian it is. Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to pick up enough by next year's Tour of Missouri if it comes through town again. This time I'm going to use one of those programs that teaches you to speak and write. As of yet I've been listening to a few podcasts and learning how to speak. So far I have run into one problem. The 2 podcasts have taught me different ways to say the same word so....I guess I'll have to research a little online to see which is more widely used. A friend of mine is also giving me a few Italian programs that he has. Hopefully one of them will work. Keep your fingers crossed!