Sunday, 1 February 2009

Progress Report

I'm pleased to report that I have been paying attention to tablets and inhaler and am rewarded with slightly better functioning lungs. Even better, during the month of January I ran for 351 minutes, working up from 20 minute to 40 sessions and up to 4 times a week. The best news of all is that I weigh 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms) less than I did at the first of the month and my clothes are much more comfortable.

Another goal I set for myself was to re-learn Spanish, at least well enough to read it. A good number of the people I know here speak at least two or more languages and I've always been a bit embarrassed that I only speak one (though I understand both Okie and Geordie dialects -- does that count?). I took 6 years of Spanish in primary school and still remember many of the phrases; I just don't know what they mean.

Somewhere along the line I acquired Hugo's Simplified Spanish. The writing in the back cover reminds me of my Uncle Bernard's, but to my knowledge he didn't speak Spanish either. I decided I would do myself some flash cards (anyone remember those?) and aim for 100 new words per month. Turns out Hugo has lots more in mind for his students, starting out with grammatical rules. It's all fairly logical and after the section on grammar comes a section to help with reading and only after that is conversational Spanish addressed.

I've been fascinated with the book itself as there is no publication date, no ISBN. It just says "Printed in the United States of America". The preface states it was written 20 years after the "Argentine Republic boom" which I'm guessing has something to do with Peron's rise to power in the 1940's, which we historical idiots only know about because of Madonna. That would mean it was published in the 1960's. Doing a bit more research, turns out that the use of ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) started here in Britain by the bookseller W.H. Smith in 1966 and only became standard across 150 countries in the 1970s. Strange to think that a system I take for granted only started in my teens; makes me feel older for some reason.

Funny enough, the book is not in copyright and is available right here, so you can follow along with me if you like! I'm only up through lesson two, mind, and I don't know how many words I've written on flash cards, but Bill is well impressed at my routine review of them each evening. Well, I'm off to run some errands.

Hasta luego!

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