Since I last wrote, I have been studying. Not constantly, obviously, as things like work and children interrupt, but much more diligently than before. I did something that was both humbling and fantastic: I bought study materials for the level just beneath where I have long assessed myself to be. The more I studied with my regular intermediate materials, the more frustrated I became because of the gaps, particularly in my grammar. So I am doubling back and filling in those gaps and already it has made a huge difference in what I hear and read on a daily basis. I has also given me more confidence to speak up.

You see, living in a place where your second language is the majority language does not make you automatically fluent. What it has done for me is to enhance my already strong decoding skills so that I can read and listen with ease but since the language production part of the brain is a completely different department, I have failed to become skilled at speaking or writing. I have never taken classes and never had much opportunity for getting out and talking with others since I have always had small children to care for along with a full-time job using primarily my first language.

But now the kids are older and if I want to get my teacher’s license so I can continue working at my current school, then I have to learn how to speak so I can pass the interview portion of the certification exam. And I do want to continue working at my current school, despite the long hours, despite the pedagogical conflicts from time to time. This is a new realization but it is enough to give me the fire I need to get up at three every morning and hit the books.

This weekend, besides for studying and chores, I am also making some new items for the shop. I had a dream about how to use resin differently and I am going to try it out this morning. The other thing I am considering for the shop are some illustrations. I have been flipping through my sketch books and think I might have a few things that other people might appreciate.

But first, as always, coffee and kanji.