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)
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