Over the last hal year or so I haven’t really been doing much with my website – no new posts, only a couple of new videos. What’s been going on?

Well the good news is that everything is (and has been) perfectly fine and I’m still doing maths tuition – the reason for my absence has been more to do with getting myself interested in a new (old) hobby. As much as you love doing something, sometimes it’s always nice just to have a bit of a break and not be quite as full-on as you may have been.

So what is this new hobby that I’ve been getting into? Well I’ve been learning a new language – Polish! I started around the end of July/beginning of August last year (2017) and I’ve been really enjoying it. Arguably, this is not the first time that I have dabbled with foreign languages, including Polish; like most people I studied a language at school – French – and also like most people, I hated it. I hated it so much! I couldn’t understand why anyone would put themselves through the torture of learning French in a classroom. It was so dull, so drab and so painful. I hated having to do role-playing where I had to pretend to be a tourist asking ‘ou est la gare’ is or how to say ‘ j’aime aller a la plage’.

After leaving school in 2002 and somehow managing to get a C in my GCSE French (they must have awarded me a few pity-marks, I’m certain of it) I never even thought about learning a language – I had no reason to think about it. In around 2006, though, something changed. I don’t know what it was but I felt compelled to learn French – this time to do it on my own terms. I learned how to read farily well in French, I had regular written conversations (at the time when MSN messanger was popular) with French people, I had Skype conversations in French, I learned the grammar and I loved it – because I was now doing it because I wanted to do it. I never got to a fluent level but I could get by.

A few years later I decided to start learning Polish – why Polish? Why not? This lasted for a few months but I eventually had to set it aside for a while as there were lots of other things going on at the time which meant my time was getting spread a bit to thin. Once again I went back to not even thinking about languages – until last year. I decided that now was the right time for me to do this – to learn a language and to see it done properly. Even though it would probably have been easier for me to start back learning French I felt more drawn to Polish – so I chose Polish.

So now, I want to make my goals for 2018 official – they are

  • Sit (and pass) the Polish State Certificate Exams, B1 Level, in May 2018 (already registered for this!).
  • Sit (and pass) the Polish State Certificate Exams, B2 Level, in November 2018.

For me, I hated learning languages in a classroom. I much prefer to learn the language on my own terms; I enjoy learning grammar when I can do it at my own pace; I enjoy reading authentic material in the language and not textbook-style role-play conversations; I enjoy having authentic conversations in the language (you don’t learn how to talk about which kind of radiator you want in one of the bedrooms in Polish textbooks but these kinds of things come up in real life). As it stands I don’t have any plans to learn other languages just yet – but who knows, once I’ve got to a decent level in Polish I may turn my attention to other languages as well. For the time-being let’s go one step at a time.

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