What an interesting couple of weeks it has been. Some of you may have noticed a little thing called the Olympics make its way through town. In other news, I managed to come down with a chest cold and undergo a minor procedure.
How is this relevant to the Babel Project?
It all became part of the Babel Project stopping to a crawl. Juggling a full-time job and a family with this project was never going to be easy, but if you add distractions (both internal and external), it brings the momentum way down.
The effort involved in making progress in all five languages at once had been gradual, but was happening (see your own Personal Darwin for a report on the good old days). Most evenings would see me in front of a computer, a book or a notepad working on learning or revising one or several languages.
And then Lord Coe, BoJo and the rest of the London 2012 crew got to me. Evenings were no longer spent with the vagaries of Polish cases or Korean participles, but with rowers and swimmers, jumpers of all sorts and balls of every size.
As Sisyphus will tell you, momentum is not neutral – it is either for you or against you. The last few weeks have demonstrated to me how easy it can be to lose momentum and what a battle it is to regain it.
I confess to being largely a creature of habit, which had served me well as I got into a routine of one to two sessions of language learning or revision per evening. Just get the kids into bed and hit the materials. I am once again discovering what an effort it took to get me to that virtuous cycle.
At least some of the project maintained its shape; I have continued with my Chinese and Arabic classes, with just one or two missed sessions. I have also purchased a self-teaching book (+audio CD-Rom) for Hindi. I know that Hindi was supposed to be confined to free materials from the Internet, but I was struggling with my core resource, and I realised that I had “compromised myself” ages ago when I took up the recommendation of my Korean study-buddy and started using an online Korean resource.
Can I take anything positive out of this “hiatus”? I haven’t forgotten anything, which is probably the most important thing. Perhaps I can even try to convince myself that, as in weight training, it is the pause between the hard work that allows the rebuilding, the pattern-formation to take place.
Just like Sisyphus, I am trying to get that rock rolling back up the mountain. But this time I am not starting from the very bottom.