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Like knitting

01 May, 2015

I spent my name day learning what a name day is and recognising that it took me elebenty gazillion tries to learn how to knit socks before I could deconstruct a pattern and reconstruct it to fit a different size foot.

May 1st is my name day.

I had no idea that name days even existed until I went to college with a Latvian. Honestly, back then, I thought they were kind of silly, but now that I’m digging into my own roots, I’m actually finding the traditions absolutely fascinating.

Since my last entry, I changed jobs and am trying to settle back into a rhythm. As always, the first thing to go is my Ukrainian lessons. I really need to… stop saying that I need to get back on the wagon, buckle down, blah blah blah. I also need (to stop saying that I need) to get motivated and pick it back up.

In celebration of my name day, I decided that Monday is Day 0. I’m starting from scratch. I’m chucking all my memrise courses, my Anki decks, my notes. Everything. I’m doing the language learning equivalent of frogging a sock I’ve been knitting.

(Oh hey! Knitting! See what I did there?)

When you ‘frog’ in knitting, you ‘rip it, rip it’ back to get to where you messed up. Basically, you pull out all the stitches until you get to the error. I’ve been known to frog socks that were just about done because I didn’t like the fit, or the pattern, or even the yarn… so why not ‘frog’ my language learning?

I’m knitting these purple socks for someone whose foot is much larger than mine, so I haven’t been able to knit-to-fit like I can on my own foot. I’ve had to play with the maths A LOT. Foot’s too wide, too short, heel’s too tight. You name it, I found a way to mess this sock up. It took me forever to get the number of stitches to line up the way they should, to get the heel to cup just right… It was a lot of work. It was painful. At some points, that sock was so not-sock-like it was a… well, whatever a not-sock-like sock would be.

I didn’t find the right sock pattern, so I had to create my own. A stitch pattern I liked (Hermione’s Everyday Socks), a simple toe, and a heel that I like (Fish Lips Kiss)… add a little maths, some chocolate, and BOOM! Socks.

Soooooo. I can’t find a true schoolroom experience but I have access to books, apps, audio files, language partners. The internet is an amazing source of free stuff and some of it is almost useful! I’ve just got to find the parts I like, figure out the ‘maths’, eat more chocolate, and eventually, I’ll arrive at fluent-enough-to-speak-to-the-Ukrainian-Consolate.

I’ve been going though a bunch of the materials I’ve collected. I’ve found a text book I like, an app I love, and I still have italki/lang-8 to round out the experience. I already have a jump start, but I’m expecting that I’ll have to work doubly hard to get to where I want to be.

S’all good. I have lots of practice frogging back to nothing and starting over again.

Stitch by stitch. Word by word.

It’s all the same.

Filed under: Culture, Holidays, Language, My Experiences, Education, Family, Practice

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