Spring has Sprung!

The weather has been so nice lately! It really affects my mood. It’s so easy to wake up when the sun is already up, so most days I get a very early start. I’ve been teaching online classes starting early and it makes my whole day feel productive to get so much done first thing in the morning.

Over the weekend we celebrated the coming of spring with our neighbors and some of T’s classmates at a huge all-day cookout in the courtyard behind our apartment. We were able to come and go all afternoon and people were still celebrating. Then on Sunday T and I went to Fillmore Glen State Park to do some hiking. We don’t often both have a whole day free, and it was nice to get out of town, especially for T’s birthday. Unfortunately the main gorge trail was still closed despite the nice weather, but we hiked up the rim trail and got some exercise. I’d like to go back when the trail is open again so we can see some of the waterfalls.

It is also the time of year for spring cleaning. I’ve recently become obsessed with dust. I feel like I dust daily and yet every morning there is a thin layer of it already beginning to pile up again, and particles glittering in the air. This week I did some really deep cleaning, using the vacuum attachments to get every nook and cranny and invested in some decent dusting cloths. I even wiped down the walls, swept and mopped the hard floors twice. We’ve got a small air purifier in the bedroom which helps reduce allergens but doesn’t really collect much dust. I’ll keep this up for a week and see if it’s making any difference. Both of us have mild dust allergies, but I’ve noticed a significant improvement in sleep quality since we got the air purifier, so it must be doing something.

While doing all of this cleaning I’ve also rounded up a lot of things to donate to the Salvation Army. Since we’ll inevitably be moving in a couple of months, even if we don’t know where yet, I figure it’s a good idea to get a head start on de-cluttering. I donated a bunch of clothes on Monday, and then went inside and found some professional looking clothes for myself. It’s amazing what you can get there for so cheap, and some stuff is practically unused! Since I’ve started teaching online I felt pretty underdressed (I must admit I wear t-shirts and pajama pants around the house all day, since I just work at home!). Thanks to the Salvation Army, I’ve now spruced up the wardrobe a bit.

And the number one thing I devote most of my time to (other than work)? Studying Japanese. I was telling T the other day how much easier it is to pick up this third (technically fourth, but I barely remember Spanish) language. After 5 months of dedicated study I’m at the same point I was after 3 years of studying Korean. My brain is just much more ready to accept it, and the book I got for Christmas (Fluent Forever) had a huge impact on the way I study. I’m really excited to see where I am at the end of this year. If you didn’t know, it was my New Year’s resolution to try and learn a new language in one year. Every time I am feeling lazy and am lounging around watching TV, I ask myself if at the end of the year I’ll be proud of the effort I put into studying. So there’s a lot less TV watching (although sometimes I do watching stuff in Japanese), and a lot more page turning. I am thinking about taking the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) at the end of the year, if it’s easy to take in the US) just to see where I am.

I just can’t sing the praises of taking video-chat language lessons enough. Using Cafetalk, I get to chat with a native speaker 3-5 times a week. Even if the conversations are redundant or simple, having to think of the right word or expression over and over turns it into a real, long-term memory much more quickly than looking at flashcards. It’s been so much fun, and I wish that more people knew the joy of language learning so I could share it with them.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading this far!

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