If you’ve been following my blog (or even kind of following it), you’ve noticed that I’ve been kind of MIA lately! My apologies! I will get back to regaling you all about my adventures with Heinrich soon!
So, what have I been up to that’s caused me to be such a flakey blogger? Well, most recently, I just had laser eye surgery done AGAIN last week (the place I went to guarantees perfect vision within 18 months, and I was still sitting at about 20/25 or 20/30, so back under the laser I went! #chasingperfection), so I wasn’t allowed to read or look at a screen for what felt like an eternity. (I *may* have broken the no-reading rule early…) BUT what’s really been eating up a lot of my time has been my new language-learning endeavour! After three failed starts (in 2005, 2013, and 2014), I finally dedicated myself to learning Croatian (or Serbo-Croatian or Serbo-Croat-Bosnian or Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian or whatever you want to call it). I do have a vested interest in learning it: my mother-in-law is from Croatia, and we’re visiting some relatives and friends in the summer, sans (er, “bez”) translator! (And either everyone there is shy, or actually no one speaks English!) So time’s a-ticking for me to learn!
Croatian is the first language I’ve started learning as an adult (I started learning German as a child, and even though I still learn the occasional phrase or piece of slang, most of my learning was done as a wee one), and I seem to have chosen a really difficult one to learn. So far, there are SEVEN grammatical cases (I’m constantly learning about new ones, so for all I know there are actually 70) and about a billion exceptions. Oh, and each English verb has at least two Croatian counterparts, depending on whether the action was completed or not (I think there are even more, depending on how long the action took, but I haven’t opened that can of worms yet). Oh yeah, and nouns change too, depending on the case (but not always). So, you would say you see “Mariju” (they also apparently have no respect for how names are actually written. See below. They’ll change the spelling of any name to make it easier for them to pronounce!), but you are reading the blog of “Marije” or moving toward “Mariji.” Confused yet? Welcome to my daily struggle!
Anyway, the purpose of this post isn’t (just) to excuse my delinquent writing or to complain about how ridiculous Croatian is (I actually love the challenge! My frustration fuels me to learn and master it! If you hear a lot of swearing during a study session, it means I’m being especially productive!). It’s a public declaration of my mission to learn Croatian… and maybe also a call for anyone else to finally dedicate themselves to learning a new language!
In addition to my weekly Croatian class (which unfortunately, hasn’t been as fruitful as I’d hoped, since apparently, my classmates aren’t as motivated as I am!), I’ve been taking tutoring sessions through a website called iTalki. My tutor (Ivana) lives in Serbia, and she’s awesome! We have hour-long Skype tutoring sessions a few times a week (she shows me her computer screen, and we go over exercises and lessons. My camera isn’t even turned on, so I don’t have to put on makeup OR put on pants if I so desire!). I was crazy nervous before our first lesson (see below), but we’ve gotten into a good groove now! In fact, I even signed up for the iTalki New Year’s Language Challenge! All I have to do is get tutored for 20 hours until the end of February. Then, I’ll get paid the equivalent of $30! (There’s a $10 sign-up fee, and the reward is actually $40, but it’s a net $30 win!)
So, if anyone else is itching to learn a new language (or improve upon one), join me, and let me know how it goes! The tutoring is pretty cheap (the tutors I looked at had an average of about $10/hour), so what have you got to lose? Just do it! DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!