Sunday, 31 May 2015


I will be taking part in the instagram language challenge for the month of June. I gave it a go back in February, and I'm looking forward to giving my Russian a boost with it this month.

Want to join in? See how it works here.

Putting this months prompts here as a reminder, and for anyone who wants to take part!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Starting again...again

It's been almost 3 months since I last studied Russian (with the exception of Memrise, which after a break and a huge catch up of words to revise, I do almost daily). Officially I failed the #Add1Challenge, although I gained so much from taking part. I have wondered about continuing. It feels as if I've forgotten so much and I'm not sure what the point is. I know it's partly to do with the challenges life has thrown at me recently. My dad passed away, and a good friend of mine has also died - which has left me a little lost...

I know deep down if I give up on Russian now I will regret it. Even if (at the moment) it seems a random and slightly pointless thing to pursue. I have signed up for a ten week summer course in the hope that it will rekindle my passion for Russian, help refresh the habits I was building back in February and give me a reason to keep going when the course is up. I'm actually looking forward to studying with other people as well. If nothing else parting with money should be good motivation to get something out of it!

The course starts at the end of June, and I will be posting here about being back in the classroom again and my thoughts on learning a language this way. In the meantime I'm starting small with two 10 minute Russian binges a day. The first 10 mins will be spent on Memrise, and the second 10 mins I'll spend on an audio lesson or working with a text book. Hopefully, this will build into something more, but for now I just need to get used to doing something regularly again.

Saturday, 23 May 2015


Welcome to my new blog. From now on all my language learning chat will be here, and all my travel/volunteering musings will remain at - what we do matters.

I came to language learning late after nothing but a few years of French at school. Needless to say I remember very little from this, and it wasn't until 2006 when I signed up to volunteer in Russia that I even considered learning another language again.

I took 6 months of Russian lessons (1 day a week for 2 hours) before heading to Russia, and being amazed that I could read shop signs and hold basic conversations. My Russian was very rudimentary, but the effort was appreciated by many and I was praised by the translators working with us. It was a really great feeling.

I then took a break, had a baby, and my language learning journey came to a halt...
I did find myself occasionally glancing at my Russian books and CDs, and thinking about taking it up again. However, it wasn't until after an illness, and a death in the family that I decided to try again. I was feeling lost, and needed to do something that meant something.  I have no idea why I thought learning a language would help, but I think it has :)

Originally, learning Russian had been a by-product of volunteering, a small part of the whole experience, but it has become so much more. It has connected me to language learners around the world, it keeps me connected to the time I spent in Russia and has opened the door to a whole world of language learning I never thought was for me.  I have now also dabbled in Toki Pona and Dutch, just for fun really.  As I plan to volunteer in Morocco and Moldova in the next few years I will also be exploring Arabic, French and Romanian. 

I am an extremely slow language learner, my Russian is still very basic, but that's not the point. I carry on because really I can't stop. There's something so addictive about studying a language. Recently my Dad, and a good friend have passed away. It's been a tough time, and my language learning has come to a halt, but I know it's there waiting for when I'm ready again.

If you would like to read about my time volunteering in Russia. You should start here.

If you want to read my previous posts on language learning and Russian please use the links below.

Learning Russian (again)
Cyrillic alphabet
A different way of learning
Still here, still learning
Language Master Key
21 Day Language Blast - Day 1
Language Blast Days 2-5
Ten days in...
16 Days of Russian
21 day Language Blast complete
Reading in Russian
Learning multiple Languages (at the same time...)
Toki Pona in 48 hours
New Year Ramblings
Toki Pona update
We need to talk
Chronic illness and language learning
#Add1Challenge update