Life is ambling along! I am still trying to sort the homestay (I love Russian bureaucracy
) as I had been planning to leave today and now probably won't until this time next week. In more fun news, however, I finished the French Duolingo tree! Duolingo is a very imperfect resource and I am obviously doing other things for my French. But it does have its uses, and it's made me more motivated to keep plugging away with it for Russian, which is where it will be more useful. I have also reached a 100 day streak on memrise! (These are the benefits of a competitive girlfriend who is also on memrise). I have also now done 300 hours of language work since May this year.
I have been feeling a bit down about things (not helped by navigating endless bureaucracy!). I am in an incredibly lucky position that many learners on this forum would love: I am in a country where my TL is spoken, and I have a ton of free time. And I really want to take advantage of this situation and push my languages as far as I can over the next six months. I love reading this forum and it's incredibly inspiring to see how much people manage to get out of their time. And this has been incredibly useful to me. I would not have done anything like as much work without this forum, without all of your examples and advice. But lately I've started to feel a bit like I am running into a brick wall, and I have started to feel very irritable with Russian. And it got me to thinking a bit about how I learn and why I am learning the languages I am.
I have been learning French and Spanish (with some gaps and at very different levels of intensity) for around ten years now. Both languages are now inextricably tied up with teachers I've had, people I've met, places I've been, books, film, etc, etc. There are so many reasons I study/have studied these languages, and there are lots of things I want to do with them (read Allende, watch films, read the 3 Musketeers, potentially live there, etc). Whereas I did slightly end up doing Russian by sheer accident (and then again studying it, which is potentially more worrying). And I do love Russian and I love being here. But when I'm asked why I'm studying it or what I want to do with it, beyond, you know - graduating, I'm not entirely sure what the answers are. And I'm not at the point like I am with French where I can do stuff in Russian and find out those answers. (I am slowly reading Winnie-the-Pooh and it's intensely painful).
And I'm also not someone who manages having time well.
Self-motivation isn't one of my strengths and I have always managed that by being very busy, and so having to make the most of the rest of the time, because there is no other choice. I am never going to sit down and study for more than 25 minutes at a time, unless I'm actively being made to. I am amazed by people like PeterM who can keep themselves focused on one thing. But I am very happy being a jack of all trades! So, for the next few months, I want to try and relax about language learning. I am going to try and play with a wider variety of things: read more, do more cultural activities, pick up my very neglected Spanish, maybe muck around with some Latin, learn more history, work on my university project. I am definitely going to keep going with Russian (I have to! It's my degree! And I do love it, even though it's a pain at times), but I'm going to try and relax about it.
TL;DR: I need to calm down and breathe a little!