Europe: Learning New Languages

In Backpacking Europe, Hobbies & Recreation, Uncategorized on March 16, 2016 at 1:26 am

The countdown has begun.

I have been singularly focused on gaining some mastery of the French language. There is a clock ticking on this task. Although I can read French fairly well (on a grammar school level), my  biggest hurdle is the conjugation of verbs. THERE.ARE.SO.MANY. The second hurdle is hearing the language. The French liaision changes the pronunciations of the words which can easily confuse me when I am trying to listen to French at a conversational pace. In addition, to my foreign ear, there are many words that sound too similar for me to distinguish between them at times. For example: on peut and un peu. This will be solved in time with continual exposure –  when hopefully it will become more innate to recognize these words in the correct context. The opportunities to practice my French is limited and the availability of hearing French spoken is non-existent.

Some ways in which I am trying to bridge the gap.

  1. I listen to a French podcast every day (and repeatedly throughout the week)
  2. I watch French films with English subtitles or the dubbed versions. I downloaded French dubbed Disney movies from iTunes and watch them with the French subtitles. In my estimation, the language should be simpler in an animated film. Thus, it will work better to bridge the gap. This can sometimes be tricky as I noticed a small difference in Canadian French. Also the French subtitles do not always match the French that is dubbed.
  3. However annoying this may be, I text my friends in French and when I am speaking to them I try to repeat what I said in French. Je sais mais Je dois faire. 
  4. There are some excellent YouTube channels which posts videos to teach you French.
  5. I have several apps on my phone to help enhance the French learning experience (including a French vocabulary flashcard app, verb conjugation app and French translation app)

It is obvious to me that French should not be the only language that I try to learn. The task to learn all the possible languages that one may encounter in Europe is too overwhelming for me. I am working on Spanish (at a much intermittent and slower rate). However it is more likely that I will be in the Catalan region so not as useful for my Europe excursion. I have promised myself that later this year, Spanish will become a top-tier priority. I mean, I LIVE in California for Pete’s sake. I am trying to commit to memory some useful Italian and German phrases just for the sake of survival. As an extra security blanket, I will have a language app on my phone.

J’espére que mon travail aider moi en France. Seul temps ferais dire. Je vais vous raconter quand retour de Frances. La grammaire est mauvais mais J’essaie :/


I’m ready for Europe

In Backpacking Europe, Hobbies & Recreation, Uncategorized on February 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm

I’m going to Paris!

Bonjour tout le monde! I am fascinated with the French language and Parisian culture. There is something romantic about the fashion, the arrondissements cultures, the food and how beautiful the language sounds. I love the pronunciation of Ives St. Laurent and the nasally sounds of French tongue. My father studied French à l’école before immigrating to America from Southeast Asia. The French colonized the peninsula in the previous century. In the 8th grade, I chose French to study when I filed out my high school class registration forms. Later, my father found out and was pleased. I studied French for 3 years. A huge item on my bucket list is to visit Paris and regardes à Le Louvre et Tour d’Eiffel. Sometimes, I envision myself retiring there and living an ex-pat life. It is all things charming to me.

In previous years, I campaigned for friends to go to Europe with me without much success. I was somewhat dejected. The City of Lights seemed like a pipe dream. There are so many reasons stacked against it. The fear of traveling alone if others are unable to go. There is the fear of terrorist attacks. Is it safe to fly on airplane? Can I afford it? Is it worth it to spend a few thousands to go there? I realized I couldn’t wait for other people. I couldn’t let insecurity or indecision stop me. I want to live a life of fulfillment and experiences.

Soooo… I made the decision that I am going to Paris. Once I made that decision I realized I needed to take it a step further and realized I wanted to backpack Europe.

I am ready to go. Some time ago, I applied for a Chase Sapphire Rewards credit card with the intent to accumulate points to cover my plane ticket to Europe. That was my first step Since the card was activated- the points are racking up. Rack City. Rack City, bitch. I downloaded an app to watch airfare and studied skyscanner website. Voíla! I had enough to cover my round trip air travel.

I intend to blog regularly (fingers crossed) about my preparation and travel plans for Europe. Stay tuned.



In Uncategorized on June 28, 2015 at 4:22 am

I’m 30 years old and I’m retiring at the end of this month. I wish I retired earlier and was smarter in planning for it. My travel miles would be in the millions and thus my planned journeys less encumbered. C’est la vie, je vis avec ce que je dois. As it is, I look forward to retirement where my hours are not commanded by le calendrier de l’autre. The last half-year, I was Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. I was working to live and the time clicked away. I woke up each morning with a deep dread inside my heart. The funnel cloud in my head formed. From pure desperation, I needed to jump off the cliff drastically or I would drown in the misery of this mediocre life. So, I quit my job. I wish I felt as brave as this post sounded but in truth, I’m living my life blindly right now. I dare not look at the pitfalls possible. I don’t know what will happen. I feel no fear and I am only looking forward.

Now, my goal for the next couple years is to live a life full of adventure and unfiltered happiness. I took the step towards the sky and I’m never looking back at that abyss.


  • Mastering the French and Spanish languages.
  • Transform into ribbon certified runner
  • Voyager dans le monde – visit 10 counties
  • Volunteer
  • Make memories and take endless photographs
  • Read 100 books.
  • Find patience
  • Jump off a waterfall.
  • Join a pen-palship.
  • Feel unbridled happiness and laughter
  • Cry a good cathartic cry.
  • DO that eat, pray, love shit.