jmfargo: (Default)
Let's make this a list, since I'm short on patience this morning:

1. Maria's laptop should be arriving by 10:30 via UPS, lovingly shipped by Maria's parents to allow me to work from home, something I can't do over the Wii. (If you missed it, my computer broke, and the only access I have right now is via the Wii Internet Channel with my keyboard hooked up through USB.)

2. Last night Maria and I started taking Korean lessons. We're learning general greetings and the alphabet. This makes two new and completely different alphabets that I will know above and beyond the one I learned growing up.

3. I am soon going to be partnered with a Saudi Arabian student here at the University of Delaware in a language exchange program. I will be teaching him English (through simple everyday use and discussion), and he will be helping me learn colloquial Arabic. This goes well with my goal of becoming a translator, since the Arabic I'm learning in class (Modern Standard Arabic) is apparently understood by everybody, but spoken by nobody.

4. Che irumin Jeremiah imneda. Odi Gasayo? (That's all the Korean I know right now. "My name is Jeremiah. Where are you going?")

5. There is no number 5, and #4 was kind of phoned in, but lists look best in groups of 5, or so I've been told. Is it Friday evening yet? Please? Can I just be done? Thanks.

6! I remembered something that I think is worth recording while I was writing the tags to this entry: I went to the gym this morning, and in a half hour workout burned over 550 Calories. 562 to be exact, according to the machine. I impressed myself, and I think I've found my new focus during my morning workout routine.


Feb. 12th, 2009 08:57 am
jmfargo: (Default)
One of the banes of my existence since the day I discovered it, or rather, the day it was forced upon me, is homework.

In elementary school straight through to high school, it was a waste of my time, a task meant to keep me quiet at home and not out playing with my friends, or reading the newest book from Madeleine L'Engle. My teachers and parents told me that it was meant to reinforce the knowledge I had learned that day in school, but since I was a bright kid who almost intuitively grasped the subjects at hand, it was busywork. A waste of my time.

Some folks will tell you that homework is a way of teaching children that they have responsibilities. I say that's what chores are for. Some others say that it's how to instill obedience in children, that they have to do what's expected of them. I say that's just plain bullshit.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about today.

The fact of the matter is that I did as little homework as I could get away with throughout my school career. Even on into the first two classes of my college life I did very little homework, not wanting to waste my non-class time by writing out things that I already knew, already grasped. Why would I want to waste my time?

Something turned around in me.

Every day I would go to class, dreading being asked to turn in the homework. I didn't want to go because when it came time, at the end of class, to turn in the homework I didn't want to hear "Jeremiah, did you do your homework" as I ran out the door. I wasn't quite shamed by it, but embarrassed.

So then I did the Winter session of Linguistics. I thought to myself "self, what happens if we do every homework assignment? I mean, it's only an hour a night, and isn't an hour worth not feeling like a total tool?"

Come to find out, it is.

So here I am now, taking Intermediate Arabic. The homework is more difficult than Linguistics, and the teacher more demanding. It takes more of my time. Is it worth spending two hours every day doing homework, just so I don't feel like a complete screw-up at the end of class? Is it worth the time for a better feeling, and a slightly better grade?

I just finished my homework due in three and a half hours, and I can say that it is. It really is.

I still think busywork is crap. I just feel better about it.


Feb. 10th, 2009 03:23 pm
jmfargo: (Default)
My first class of Intermediate Arabic is done, and my homework is almost complete. I have to find the DVD that goes with my book to do the last bit, so I've set up a reminder for myself to search for it this evening. Or now. Now is good.

Sometimes I put off something I should do right away because it's easier to think that I'll do it later. I had to stop myself mid-writing this in order to make sure I spent at least some effort looking for this very important DVD. Unfortunately, as it stands after some very serious looking, I am down one very important DVD. I will ask Maria when she gets home if she knows its location. I hope so; this thing is what I'll be using for my homework for the next month or so.

Okay, anyway. Class. Class was good. I'm surprised at how much I've forgotten over the course of the Winter, and at the same time amazed at how much I remembered. I was able to carry on (very) basic conversation, remembered conjugation of verbs, and spelling for a drill we did where everyone wrote out some things about themselves to share with the class.

You know what? It's really going to bother me if I don't go find this DVD. I'm going to go hunt it down.


Can't find it. Going to have to wait for Maria now.

I was trying to make a point about how good a day I was having, but this is really bugging me. I've decided to stop putting everything off, change my life towards being a better person, and what happens? The first task drives me over the edge. Or at least a step closer to it.


Moments after asking Maria if she knew where the DVD might be hiding she suggested I look in a case I hadn't thought of. That's where it was. Thankfully. I love my wife.
jmfargo: (Default)
We have to get to Dubai somehow.

Winter semester started Monday, and I'm again enrolled in a class. In hopes of complementing my Arabic classes I settled on Linguistics 101, a look at the science of languages.

It's absolutely fascinating. I've never been engrossed in a science before, but this is one I can really sink my teeth into. Part hard science and part philosophical, it's different from any other class I've ever taken.

(He said knowingly, on his third day of class.)

My wife and I have been talking about our three year plan. One of the biggest things is that we're not sure we want to be here. Here, in this case, being the United States.

I don't have anything against the US; I just like change.

Combine this move with my recent Arabic instruction, and you might begin to see what we're thinking.

Are we nuts? I don't know. Maybe. Is this kind of move impossible? Not at all. Can we do it?

Time will tell.

What do you think? Crazy? Awesome? Weird? A strange orgy of all three? I'd love to hear it.
jmfargo: (Default)
Tomorrow's the first quiz for the class. Well, the second actually, but the one we took before "didn't count," so this is the first quiz. That means that I should be spending tonight, the night of my first anniversary, studying for the quiz tomorrow.

In actuality, I've got 10 pages to read, 8 writing practices to be done on separate pieces of paper to be handed in tomorrow, and 5 drills that each have to be done on their own paper to be handed in at the beginning of class tomorrow.

10 pages to read, 13 separate parts of homework.

Of course, I could get it done sooner if I just stopped bitching about it and got to it, but this is something that deserves a good bitching about.

I have no idea how the regular students are able to deal with this. I just spent over an hour writing all the forms of "miim." I already knew them! I wouldn't have wasted my time, but if I miss even one part of the homework assignment to be handed in, none of them count and I get a zero.

I wish I knew some Arabic swear words. I'd use them about now.


Sep. 4th, 2008 08:28 am
jmfargo: (Default)
I'm off to class, and I'm feeling better. The lessons in the book last night were simple, easy-to-follow, and straight-forward. Having the DVDs to show native speakers pronouncing and writing the language was very helpful.

The homework wasn't difficult, but it was time-intensive. The first week or so we were told to expect to put in extra time in order to learn a whole new alphabet, so hopefully my homework won't take two hours each night after this week.

And yes, for the first time in over a decade I'm actually doing my homework. I think my parents would be shocked. Still, for this class I actually feel that homework is a necessity, where as in High School I almost always automatically grasped what they were trying to tell me, and so I felt homework was just busy work. With this class, I can't participate unless I learn the new stuff I'm doing the night before.

Time to get going to class. I'm getting there two hours early in hopes of getting a good parking spot, because if I don't find a good one it's a long walk. Well, kind of long. Long to me.

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