Of all the language courses I’ve completed, the Portuguese class I’m doing this semester is by far the greatest. Forget grammar, forget rules and annoying tables with declination endings and all that stuff. Just open your mouth and speak! That’s what learning a new language is all about. Every week our teacher gives us two assignments to work on: topic 1 and topic 2. A week later we’re then asked to speak for 5-10 minutes about that topic. Here are some things we’ve done so far: what’s your favorite book. talk about one of your favorite travel destinations. what’s your favorite short story, write a short summary and also mention a few things about the author. Where do you usually go shopping.
“Just talk.” – the teacher would say. On the first session my mind went black, my lips paralyzed. I was barely able to say “não posso falar“, (meaning: “I can’t speak”). One the second day I was already able to say few things about my hometown, my friends and the bike trips I do. Last week I made few grammar mistakes, but I spoke remarkably fluent (at least that was my impression) about my first trip to Paris: starting with how I planed everything, how I booked a hotel, a flight and ending with all the sightseeing, the food experience and my final impressions of the French lifestyle. I had finally detached from fear. For the first time Portuguese felt natural. This week I’m preparing my next assignment on one of my favorite books and… the anxiety is gone. Last semester I was struggling to learn by hard verbs, tense endings and grammar rules. It was all arid, boring, it made each of us question our motivation for learning a this new language. It made me seriously consider to give up.
While my Portuguese learning experience took this remarkable turn-around, Hindi and Urdu aren’t doing so well. Few days ago it came to my mind: I’ve been learning Hindi for over one year and a half… and I’M STILL UNABLE TO READ THE GODDAMN NEWSPAPER OR CARRY A BASIC CONVERSATION. This issue is getting more and more frustrating, thus I’m looking for new ways to speed up the learning process. And here’s one of the ideas I had: since I’m getting all these cool assignments for Portuguese… wouldn’t it be interesting if I’d complete them in Hindi as well?
Dear readers, here’s where I need your help! As I already mentioned, I’m far from excelling in Hindi. My texts are going to be full of errors, mistakes and weird formulations. Thus, someone will need to read them through and point out all the errors. I’m not going to ask my Hindi teacher for this favor, as we don’t quite get along. Instead I’m considering to publish all of these texts right here, so that any of you can correct them and help me make a little bit of progress with Hindi. Eventually, I plan on correlating all these attempts + corrections with various online Hindi lessons and turn them into a great learning resource for anyone interested in Hindi/Urdu.
So, what are your thoughts on this idea? Do you think it’s a feasible project? Can I count on your support?
I do not know how to put it without sounding like a silly nationalist, as I am entirely opposed to the concept of nationalism, borders and the existence of countries in general. It would be totally wrong to say that I like Romania, so I’ll just put it this way: I like the place where I’m at the current moment. I love the people that live here and all the beautiful things they do. Even though some refer to this country as the shithole of the world, it is the place where I feel well. This is where I think I need to stay and make stuff, like fight for a velorution or open a tea store.
It’s funny how my vacations are in fact full work days, while the semesters at the Humboldt University feel like a sort of vacation. Berlin is the place I get to go and take a break from all the beautiful yet exhausting things I dream to do. Berlin is the where I spend my “leisure time” learning Hindi, Urdu, Portuguese and all those incredibly interesting things about South Asia. It is where I waste time in the kitchen and mix spicy ingredients until I create the perfect masala. It is also the place where I’m enrolled in a sports club and play tennis few times per week. But, basically, over there all my activities are related to myself. I have very few friends there, I don’t feel like going out, exchanging ideas, participating in any events or fighting for any cause.
Guess there’s just one conclusion: I like both countries, both cities, but for now I’d rather spend a little more time in Bucharest and a little less time in Berlin.
What about you, have you already found the place where you belong to? Do you think a place like that actually exists?
Today I had lunch with a couple of colleagues, aspiring entrepreneurs, from the business workshops organized by FPP. During all of our talks, we obviously came to debate over more delicate matters, such as corruption. Ah, yes! How Romanians love to discuss matters such as injustice and corruption, unfortunately very few consider taking any action against it. To be more specific, this afternoon we came to talk about the well known “parcagii” and how the rotten system enables them to make money at our expense. Let me tell you a little bit about their “work”. Parcagii are the people who watch over free public parking places, frankly, they are everywhere. When you try to park one of these parcagii will flash out of nowhere and guide you frantically into a free parking place. Once you step out of the car, they ask you to pay for their service. If you refuse to give them any money, you will most likely end up having your car scratched, your tires flat or, in worst case scenarios, with one of your windows broken (maybe even with stuff from your car missing). Sometimes the parcagii can become quite aggressive and ask you to get the hell out of their parking place.
As we started to discuss the issue of parcagii today, here’s what I told my colleagues: Continue reading »