Thursday, July 16, 2009

But it's good workaholism...

So, my fabulous little research project has come equipped with an amazing new deadline in two weeks. I was going to try to renegotiate (protesting "It's not possible!"), but instead I went into "start-up company" mode and made some real progress on my project. Now I'm thinking maybe I can do it -- and it'll be convenient to get this first high-pressure chunk out of the way now, leaving me a lower pressure week in which to prepare for the Sunstone Symposium.

And thanks to my wonderful family, my kids are having a fantastic vacation!!! (in spite of their mom being locked away in the computer room...) See them catching frogs, riding fifties-era carnival rides and playing with fireworks, and learning Minnesota history at Fort Snelling! Now they're at a planetarium.

In other good work news -- as much as I've bad-mouthed cars on this blog -- I have to hand it to my new little car "car" for helping me with my German! (Yes, I took y'all's suggestion and asked my kids to name the car. They insisted on naming it "car".)

Anyway, in the car, I can listen to my German lessons and repeat after the recording at full voice. Yep, that's one thing you just can't do on the train. (It's not that people would think I'm crazy, it's just that it's a breach of Swiss train etiquette.) And it makes a world of difference for learning and retaining the words. I'm making better progress here than I ever did in Switzerland!

Feeling confident again, I'm starting to see (by contrast) how discouraged I was about a lot of my situation for the past six months in Switzerland. And I'll be moving back there in January -- ready to get off on the right foot this time!! :D


mathmom said...

Just curious---what German cds are you listening to?

Eleanor and I enjoyed your sister's blog. Sounds like you all are having a good time =)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Mathmom!!!

We're currently doing "Allemand Pratique de Base". This one is very good for doing in the car because of the structure of each lesson: (1) dialog, (2) repeat selected sentences from the dialog, (3) exercises (the last of which is always translating sentences from French to German). It's great because I can listen over and over, and I learn each unit a little better each time through. This type of repetition and memorization is dull but absolutely critical for building fluency.

I also have "Teach Yourself German" -- which is more interesting to read than the other one -- but the recordings are really not adapted for repeated listening in the car. It doesn't have nearly enough listen-and-repeat or simple answer aloud exercises. Instead, it has way too much discussion in English. The worst part is that for every other exercise they have the English lady say "you can use your pause button to give you time to say your answers aloud." Well, not if I'm driving! I'd rather they just leave the appropriate blank space in the recording instead of wasting time having the English lady tell me to pause the recording.

I'm glad Eleanor liked the stories and pics on my sister's blog. We look forward to seeing you! :D