James29's Spanish and French Log

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James29
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Languages: English (Native)
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:07 pm

I'm still chugging along through the telenovela La Doña and loving it. It is a bit cheesy but I really like it. They have done a good job developing the characters. The plot is good and developing nicely. They don't try to do too much and they develop some of the subplots slowly. There are some dumb coincidences but other than that there is nothing wrong. It is super cool to see all the places I went when I was in Mexico City. I'm usually getting in about ten episodes a week.

I'm also slowly continuing with the translation of Grisham's The Client. It is pretty good but definitely does not grab me as much as some of his other books. I don't have much time to read so I'll just work on it when I can.

Incorporating Spanish into my business planning is not happening. I have realized I simply have too much regular work and the opportunities are still there (and better) for my regular English speaking clientele. That is kind of discouraging because I've really wanted to do a Spanish speaking initiative. I'm realizing Spanish is much more of just a hobby for me... for now!

I have my usual meetups and occasional skype talks. I am really progressing. When speaking with a native I feel incredibly fluent. It just rolls off my tongue. For some reason when I speak with people who are learning I don't speak as well.

Anyway, Spanish is just part of my great life now. I cannot wait for spring.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:50 pm

Wow, it has been over a month since I've updated my log. I'm still chugging through my telenovela, La Dona. I really like it. I believe it is becoming my favorite of all time. I need to wait and see if they pull off a good ending before I give it that honor. I am somewhere around episode 80 (out of 120) so I should finish in a month or so. I watch about ten episodes a week. I would have to say my comprehension must be at least C2 or better. I don't feel like I am missing anything. There is one 20-ish girl who speaks very slangy and when she talks with the other 20-ish characters I have a harder time following the conversation. That's the only noticeable difficulty I have.

I have abandoned the book I was reading, Grisham's The Client. I just don't have time for it. All I'm able to fit in for Spanish is my time on the treadmill and my weekly meetup. I also usually have a short chat with one of my exchange friends.

My writing is my weakest skill and I've felt bad about it. This week I had a big boost in confidence. I had to proofread a few letters and articles my marketing company wrote for me in Spanish. I was able to spot some errors and felt very confident correcting the native writers. I guess this is really more a testament to my reading skills rather than my writing.

Business has been great. The only problem with this is that I've not been pressing the Spanish side of things. Recently I've been thinking of the future and am really hoping to go all out on the Spanish side of things.

I've thought a few times about going back to French but I just don't think I've got the time right now. Maybe in a year or two.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 5:05 pm

I'm loving the telenovela La Dona. I have decided it is my favorite so far. I have about 20 episode left and I don't really care how they end it... they have weave a great story so far that has been well worth the ride. I've been watching about 10 episodes a week.

I am also occasionally reading a chapter of Grisham's The Client in Spanish. I started it on a trip in January and have been picking at it ever since. I don't like leaving a book half read but I simply don't have the time to read much.

My Spanish is great! I love it. I can understand La Dona basically perfectly and effortlessly. If I watch something new it takes me a little while to adjust. Mexican Spanish is definitely my best form of Spanish. I am far from perfect, however. I find that only watching telenovlas and having chats with natives has caused me to lose some vocabulary. I'd like to sometime read a few good books and boost up my vocab. I also will never feel my Spanish journey is complete until I complete a thorough C level grammar book.

Even with my love of Spanish I've been feeling like a little French or Portuguese. Portuguese would be easier to get to a high level and would be somewhat useful for my business. French, on the other hand, is a culturally important language on my wife's side and would be great for travel and leisure. Trips to Quebec, Martinique and Guadeloupe to practice French sounds right up my alley. I also know a decent amount of French so far.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun May 12, 2019 11:26 am

Wow how time flies! I am still chugging along with my Spanish. I pretty much am just watching TV in Spanish and have occasional talks at work, meetups or with language exchange friends.

I watched several episodes of How to Get Away with Murder on Netflix in Spanish. Good show for Spanish dubbing. They speak really fast and the vocab had many new words for me. After the first season I abandoned the show because I lost interest.

I watched a few random shows before deciding on La Reina del Flow as my next novela to conquer. I'd say this has been a pretty solid choice. I am somewhere around episode 20 now. The basic idea is that there is a young girl who writes music. She has a boyfriend who is a young new singer who starts hitting it big with her songs. His uncle is a drug kingpin. On the trip to NY for a first break music deal the boyfriend tries to smuggle cocaine into the US in his girlfriend's suitcase. She gets caught and goes to jail for 17 years. He goes on to become a hugely popular singer. She gets out and works undercover for the DEA to track down the drug kingpin through her ex-boyfriend. She also seeks revenge on her ex-boyfriend. She, of course, got pregnant just before going to jail. Her son was taken from her and raised as her ex-boyfriend's brother and he is a singer too - but she thinks her son was killed.

The show is set en Medellin, Colombia and they speak in a very strong paisa accent. It is good exposure for me. I'm not following it quite as easily as the standard Mexican novela. I find it utterly unbelievable that NOBODY recognizes the woman after 17 years. They all believe she is dead but it is simply unrealistic that nobody can figure out that she is the same person. I also note that I almost quit the novela in the first 5 episodes where it takes place in the past when she is young. That part was not well acted and generally pretty dull. When they get back to current time the show is much better. I'll do a full report when I finish the show.

I miss reading in Spanish. I'm realizing that really moved my Spanish along really well. Hopefully I'll find time this summer to hit the beach with a good beach book. I've been way too busy with work and family so I am really proud I managed to keep up my Spanish. If it were not for being able to watch Netflix on the treadmill I probably would not be getting in any Spanish.
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GnomeChomsky
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby GnomeChomsky » Sun May 12, 2019 9:59 pm

Hi James! Fantastic log. Just out of curiosity, what type of earbuds do you wear when you're watching Netflix and running on the treadmill? The treadmills at my gym are super loud and I wouldn't be able to hear a thing.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:43 pm

GnomeChomsky wrote:Hi James! Fantastic log. Just out of curiosity, what type of earbuds do you wear when you're watching Netflix and running on the treadmill? The treadmills at my gym are super loud and I wouldn't be able to hear a thing.


Hey Gnome - sorry for not responding for a while. I have found it is worth spending a few extra bucks to get some good ones. I am a pretty thrifty guy but it is worth it to get good ones. I usually just go to Best Buy and get ones that cost about $15. They seem to work well. As long as there is a good seal in the ear I'm good.

I found I went through a ton of earbuds because I'd just throw them in my pocket when I'd go on trips and that somehow seemed to ruin them. Most people probably know that you have to take care of them but I did not.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:50 pm

Well, I've been still chugging along with my Spanish. I ran my spring marathon and thanks to all the miles I logged in watching telenovelas I did great. I'm not one of the best runners in the world but I'm not bad either. I was able to qualify for the Boston Marathon so now I have another goal which will allow me to watch plenty of Spanish!

I'm somewhere around episode 45 in La Reina del Flow. I'm going through it slower now as I am not running as much as I was in my marathon build up. It is an ok show. Not great but not bad either. If you like the music industry and Colombia this would be a good show. They speak in a very strong Medellin accent which is more difficult for me than more standard Spanish but I'm not having any problems understanding.

With less time on the treadmill I'm back to reading a bit. I'm still trying to work through Grisham's The Client. It is fine but certainly not the greatest book. I'm about 2/3 of the way through now.

I do my local meetup quite regularly. That is fun. I'm also using Spanish more at work. I'd say I need it on a weekly basis now for a pretty in-depth conversation. This is rewarding. My Spanish output is really doing well on the professional side of things. I am using "usted" much more often which is good because I used to not be super comfortable with it. I also hired another Spanish speaking employee so there are four of us now at my business who speak Spanish (including me).

My life with family and business is crazy hectic but Spanish has become part of my life. I am so glad I decided to take the plunge all those years ago and really commit to learning the language.

It is beach weather now and I need to make time to hit the beach with a good book in Spanish!
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Fortheo
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby Fortheo » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:25 am

Good luck training for the Boston Marathon. It seems like you'll have some fun running sessions with Spanish :D
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:47 pm

Well, for the past two months I have not been doing as much Spanish as I usually do. This is the first time in about nine years where I am not using Spanish on a daily basis. I'm running outside so that has completely killed my telenovela time on the treadmill. I had a trip a few weeks back where I got several hours of reading in and also have been occasionally watching the novela I'm working on.

I note that I don't think my Spanish has been impacted much at all by the drastic reduction in Spanish use. I once did feel like it was not flowing too well. I'd really like to get my life back to a situation where I can do something in Spanish daily. I am a creature of habit and I've gotten into the habit of doing my running outside for the summer. I'll probably do that until we change the clocks as I don't like to run in the dark. Then, I'll be back to Spanish every day.

I have had a number of opportunities to speak French which is quite unusual. My French is terrible but I'm learning to fake it a bit. I'm surprised how much I recall after a quick morning of brushing up.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:40 am

Yikes, it has been 8 weeks since I have updated my log. Not much happening so I guess it does not really matter. I've been super busy with work and regular life. My Spanish has gotten put a bit on the back burner. I don't think it has suffered much. I still go to a regular weekly meetup and use Spanish at work on a weekly basis. I occasionally talk with one of my long time exchange partners online.

Since my last update I've been watching an occasional episode of the telenovela La Reina del Flow. It is fine but nothing to highly recommend. I am almost done with it. I think I have about six episodes left. I'm still running outside so I'm not getting in all that great telenovela/netflix time on the treadmill. I've pretty much decided to run outside through the winter, if possible, so I won't get in as much telenovela time as I'd like.

I also finally finished the Grisham book The Client. I did not particularly like it. I absolutely love some of his books and some of them are total yawners. This one just did not grab me. I could not really get attached to any of the characters and the storyline just seemed a bit unrealistic. I did not have any problems at all with the Spanish.

My Spanish is quite good now. I'd have to say I am pretty pleased. I could work really hard and improve my vocabulary but I don't really need more vocabulary to do 95% of what I need/want to do in Spanish. My grammar is probably not perfect with some of the more complicated things but I am quite good with simply talking my way around the highest level grammar to avoid it.

At some point I am determined to really make a big push with my business for Spanish speaking customers. I have not made that a priority because I have simply been so incredibly busy with my "regular" English speaking customer base. When things normalize I'll kick things into higher gear.

Well, that's it for now. In the meantime I'll just keep chugging along with doing Spanish whenever I can.
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