May 2021


Short stories.


I’ve now read 6 short stories (listed below).

These were way harder than I’d anticipated. But I’m glad I read them. It made me want to read more.I feel particularly good about finishing them because it’s been hard for me to sit down and read. I’ve read a grand total of 5 books in the past 5 years. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading. In fact it was one of my favorite pastimes as a kid. But there are so many distractions these days - both good and bad - that reading gets sidelined.

Anyways, towards the end of the month, I participated in a book club in a Refold Discord server. I read Тайна острова сокровищ, the Russian translation of the book Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. It was easier than the other stuff I’d read. The main thing that tripped me up was some descriptive vocab. All in all it was a fun experience. Reading with the book club did wonders for my motivation.

I’ve also been thinking about speaking. The last time I had a conversation in Russian was around August 2020. I’ve written a bit in Russian since then but I’ve been spending the majority of my time in the language consuming content.

I recently joined Clubhouse. It’s a social media platform where people talk in public rooms (voice calls). I found a lot of Russian rooms on there. Lurking in some of those rooms, I was exposed to something I hadn’t experienced in a long time. Live conversation. And I expected to understand some things here and there but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could actually understand most of what they were saying. At first I thought it was a fluke and it was only because they were talking about relatively simple life stuff. However, after joining more rooms the self-doubt subsided and I was able to think more clearly about my level of comprehension. It’s definitely not where I want it to be. Although I can understand most of what is being said (if I know what they’re talking about/if the topic is familiar), it still requires an unnatural amount of focus. Unnatural for a conversation. In other words, I wouldn’t be able to focus that hard and be an active participant in a conversation. Refold’s advice on getting through this is simply to immerse more. And that’s what I plan on doing.

Lately I’ve been wondering how much of the language I’ve acquired. And how I would do if I tried to have a conversation with a language partner. I’ve tried language exchanges in the past, but my competence was way lower than what it is now. I’m also curious about how my experience compares to what’s described in Stage 3 of Refold. So, going forward my plan is to squeeze in some language exchange sessions into my language learning schedule. However, I’m not going to overdo it and limit it to a maximum of 2 hours per week.