arisha: (potc3 liz)
[personal profile] arisha
· We are halfway through what should, if all goes well, be my final semester of undergrad. I'm taking two classes. The first, Morphology and Syntax, would probably be pretty interesting to me if I were studying it by myself, but as a university course I'm annoyed that I have to take yet another class that doesn't directly have much to do with teaching ESL and I'm less than thrilled with the professor, who takes everything personally and even asks "Am I boring you?" when he sees a student yawn. The second class is a night class that features a different speaker every week, and so far they've been kind of hit-and-miss. And I swear the chairs at my university are even more uncomfortable at night. So I'm ready for all that to be over. A couple weeks ago I started my practicum - 10 hours of observing an ESL class and 10 hours of teaching it - and so far it's going well although the idea of my teaching being judged is giving me some serious anxiety! Nobody ever gave me feedback on my teaching when I was in Japan, to the point that the one time a kindergarten teacher asked me to sing a certain song twice instead of just once I was kind of taken aback! But the two teachers who will be marking me are super nice and clearly want me to do well so I just need to breathe and do my best and remember that the professor in charge of the practica felt the need to remind everyone not to text while in the ESL classroom so clearly they're not expecting amazingness here.

· Some time ago I said I would tell you about the German professor I had last semester, and I'm sure none of you care but this particular promise has been hanging over my head so: he was awesome! He was really funny and used German in the classroom whenever possible, although not so much that I ever felt lost or confused. I was really impressed the day he introduced modal verbs with a story about how his wife told him "You have to give away this Halloween candy!" and he replied "I can't! I want to eat it!" (And then he gave us the Halloween candy.) I was also really impressed with the way he handled student mistakes, like they were just not a big deal at all. When I wrote my class evaluation at the end of the semester, it was half "This prof is awesome!" and, unfortunately, half "This textbook is the worst language textbook I have ever seen in my life!"

When the semester ended, I figured I would see if I felt like continuing with German or not and I'm sorry to say that so far I have not had the urge. I enjoyed studying it for a semester, the grammar is interesting and believe it or not I like the way it sounds, but ... yeah. I just haven't had the urge to continue with it. Maybe one day I will. I think I have been realizing lately that, as much as I might like to be one of those people who learn a whole bunch of different languages and start learning a new one every few months, I perhaps will not be one of those people. Every time I think about picking up a new language I panic a bit, all "But that will take time away from the languages I'm already working on!!!" So I'll just be fine with that for now.

One thing I enjoyed about taking German, though, was the reminder that beginning a new language can be really difficult! I had a lot of trouble trying to remember new words. It's like I wasn't used to the way words look or sound in German, so even just learning how to spell or pronounce one basic word took a lot of effort. And when I was making sentences, I always felt like I had nothing to go on. Like I wasn't familiar enough with German to have that intuition of whether a sentence is correct or not. In Japan I would sometimes think things like "I can sympathize with my students because I've studied other languages and I know that it's difficult," but the difficulties you have at the intermediate or advanced levels are pretty different from the ones you have as a beginner, and I was glad for the reminder.

· Last week I rearranged all of the furniture in my room (for the first time in the eighteen years we have lived here) and I LOVE IT. The furniture was always in kind of a weird arrangement before which I think added to my feelings of a cluttered room (an example: getting dressed involved climbing over the bed to get from the closet to the dresser). I was extremely excited when I realized that I had put everything back in the room and I still had empty floor space all around the bed. I dread the day that this becomes normal to me; right now I still get a feeling of "Wow! Look how great my room looks!" every time I walk in and I love it. My brain feels more organized now too! And I'm going to try to stop getting out library books and start making my way through the books I own ... although the last time I tried to ban myself from the library I made it about two days.

· This weekend I watched all four Pirates of the Caribbean movies in their Japanese dub, and enjoyed myself ridiculously. Waaaaugh you guys I love these movies so much. And I'm happy to have finally seen them all in Japanese! I'd watched the first two in full before but I don't think I'd ever made it to the end of At World's End (I tried once but was in a bad mood and decided to go to bed early instead) or On Stranger Tides (I tried once but got distracted trying to transcribe "Jolly Sailor Bold" and when I was done it was time for bed). For those of you who are just joining us, oh my gosh but watching the dubs of movies I obsess over is my favourite thing. And I am stoked to report that my understanding of these particular dubs has seriously shot up since the last time I watched them - my understanding of Curse of the Black Pearl might be at like 90%?! I was having no trouble with lines that I had not understood at all before?! How did that happen?! Ugh it was so great to focus less on my own comprehension and more on what I thought of the translations. Barbossa's "You best start believing in ghost stories" speech was actually really poetic! Bootstrap's name mysteriously changes from a transliterated "Bootstrap Bill" to a translated "Kutsuhimo no Bill" between movies one and two! And I noticed a callback that I'd never even noticed before, how on earth is that possible when I am obsessed with the things?!

Sadly, watching the so-so On Stranger Tides less than twenty-four hours after watching my beloved At World's End was probably a mistake. On top of that, I recently read some rumours about Pirates 5 that made me EXTRAORDINARILY EXCITED and now I'm not sure the actual thing will have any chance of living up to my expectations. I shall keep hoping though!!

In conclusion, I am really glad I watched these movies again, but also really annoyed at myself for it, because now I have to get ready for another busy week of school and practicum and I would much rather just stay home and watch these movies again. D:
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July 2015

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