Travel Journal (45 Days in Argentina)

Part of a case study I did on rapid Spanish learning. See the whole thing here.

1/2/20

arrived in buenos aires got settled in, flight and layover was a bitch. Took a red eye and didn't sleep at all. spoke with the nice uber lady on way to airbnb, SLOWLY, with my ONE sheet. Acquired baseline knowledge of all the tenses and most the grammar on paper in my college course before this. Now its practice time baby

1/3/20

Hello journal, today was a great day. scored “Upper beginner (A2?)” on spanish test through the International House also did not include listening and speaking which might have brought me down. Wandered around the city, went grocery shopping, only spoke to people when I needed to. Talked with my conversation exchange friends on whatsapp. I am no longer afraid that an Argentinian madman is going to attack me. It’s just the squeaky elevator. I’m really excited for this adventure. I am all settled into my apartment, it’s friday night, i'm doing my reflections. Life is great. I start my classes on monday and I’m really excited. Speaking of classes. I am thinking about turning this casestudy into a course. Thoughts? Hmm I just asked myself for thoughts, Anyways, that will be fun and I’m excited about it, cant wait to be fluent in spanish in a couple months! Chau for now!

1/4/20

Hola mfer, im getting pretty good at spanish and settling into the spot. Walked 10 miles today around the city, got dinner at that place, ordered in dishoveled spanish, almost bought shoes in disheveled spanish, lessons start monday 1/ 6. starting to realize more and more that I need to focus on listening ALOT more, huge reallocation of time and resources. Tomorrow I’m meeting with Milli and Cristian for a conversation exchange and some mate, step in the right direction! Super excited for the mate part. Think we’re going to one of the shopping districts. Definitely going to bring my ONE sheet, this bitch goin w me everywhere. Side note, bad blood is loco!! Sleepwatch says I need to “regulate” my sleeping schedule and time so I must go now. hasta manana! How tf do i change my keyboard to spanish??

1/5/20

With everyday I feel myself getting closer to my goal of being fluent. Not sure how these classes are going to play out, kinda wish I did only privados but wel see how they are tmrw. Soccer is boutta happen so im stoked about that. Things are going well muchacho. I took 2 ubers today. First one cancelled right when I got in the car and said “ necesito efectivo!” ah shit. Second one I thought he was showing me some sort of cartel tattoo that said “black something society” but it turns out it was a black sabbath reference and he wanted to tell me he loved the band. He looked at me with this “im going ot kill your family face, so I didnt know”. Uber is illegal here so it’s kind’ve sketchy to take one but they’re so cheap. I met with milli and christian today. Y que bueno! They were super fun and helpful, we had great conversation. Then I didnt sleep well because I was up kindve late, first day of classes is tomorrow! Kinda got lost on the way home today, circled my street 6 times without finding it.

1/6

Milanisa! I had milanisa and mate today y que bueno. Also I was late for my class today, not great. Classes went well though. I start the private lessons tomorrow. Very excited for that. I found shoes I like today at the nike store. That was awesome. Found a pickup soccer league also that plays every night! It sounds so cool and im really excited about it. Need to really start incorporating the flash cards and listening activities. Went to mente today, that was good. Came home. All is well...also … it’s called milanesa

1/7-8

Yesterday I went out to dinner with a few friends from the mente program, I was the only guy but it was fun. We ended up staying out until like 2 am. Which is pretty normal, late here is more like 5am. Did not get great sleep, had a great 1v1 session. I always feel like I learn so much from them. Or at least so far. Im going to move from the groups to the private classes definitelty.

1/9

Recognized that I need to work immersion into my workouts. For that reason I am going to play pickup soccer at the local park to maximize immersion. That is a huge metric to consider and I undermined it. Immersion ratio, what percentage of your activities include the culture and other native speakers that you need to interact with. MAXIMIZE! If you can live with a host family that’s even better probably but I can’t speak on it bc I lived by myself. This also meant meals out, talking w servers, meeting with friends for meals. Ubering places so that I could talk in the car as well. Microteatro was awesome!

1/11

Not feeling so hot today. I went out last night and we have only been speaking english, I like the friends I made but I really want to maximize spanish speaking. Feeling a little stressed, went to escaperoom yesterday and didnt understand a word. I'm in a cafe right now and I had plans to meet with jennifer but I was feeling lethargic and burnt out so I bailed. It could be the 4 medialunes I had or the fact that I was out until 2am drinking last night or a combo. Idk, I just need to get back on my daily schedule, gunna start taking huperzine A every other day for a little.

1/13

Feeling way better now, just writing out my thoughts was good. I went to the free tango class and then went to that bar after.

1/15

Today I didnt go to class

1/16

Today either. Fell off a little bit, but also got an insane amount done yesterday that wasn't spanish (thank you huperzine A?). have also been having a little brought on anxiety. My sleep schedule isnt great right now, might be side effect of huperzine A. looking to make corrections next week and pivot to all private lessons and business specific. Going to get back on the horse today. Focusing on vocab that is very business specific. Allocate most of my efforts toward that to get the most application out of my learning.

1/17

Realized I need to not make commitments for long periods of time or at points far in the future before I try something I.e flights/group classes. Also Spanish is really complicated and you can’t just learn this shit in 1.5 months. But what I can do is focus super niche on conversation in business settings/negotiations so that’s what I’ll do?  Dropping group classes for next weeks and doing all private classes. Came up with idea to go to a bunch of different small businesses around here and interview them in Spanish about their business and how they run it. Tell them that I am curating good places to go to for American tourists and that I’m going to publish it on a blog or tourist website. Potentially get free food out of it. Tell them I’m learning Spanish and conduct the whole interview in Spanish, come up with guide questions before hand, super niche practice and exposure, reach out to them after with notes from the interview and ask if they can check it for spelling/grammar errors/make any suggestions. The flight fiasco, booked a new direct flight for $400 from BA to london 1 way. Couldn’t take another 10 hours of flying time and a layover

1/19/20

Try to make the case study all about principles so it could be translated into other languages. This personal case study I did was from english to spanish, the principles are sound. However if you were to go from english to mandarin, there will be a larger barrier to entry because you will need to learn a completely different alphabet, sounds, sentence and word structure. To earn native fluency would be followed with years of immersion/living in a spanish country. However in about 6 weeks, this level of fluency was the ultimate goal.

1/24

Shouldve gone on this venture with a friend that speaks spanish or stayed with a host family. Constant communication with a friend would have been super relaxing and fun, playin xbox/soccer/goin out/ doing leisure shit but only in spanish

1/26

Big revelation in lifestyle design today. Huge thank you to my teacher. She distinguished between different types of learning. Dutyful and Playful wel call it. Dutyful is when you make schedules for yourself the work on something and make it an obligation. That is what i have been doing for the past year. I cant say that the success rate has been that high. It’s time for a change. I normally come up with a plan where I do 3-5 activities/day for an alotted time period. I rarely do them or stick with them. Is it because Im lazy? No. Im scheduling 4-8 hours of “obligation work” to fuel my learning. That will lead to stress, burnout, and ultimately deviation from the project. In comes playful. It’s leisure and its fun. For example, my best learning in spanish came when I went out with spanish only speaking friends with no intentions of “hitting certain metrics” or “total time talked” or forcing myself to meet a quota of amount of times that I went out and talked with friends. It was leisure/fun/immersive/and EASILY the most rewarding in terms of knowledge acquisition.

1/30

Important to note: time between scheduled things and when you planned to do them should be kept at an absolute minimum. Do not decide what you will do the next day until the night before or the morning of, but ask yourself the question of “what can I do today/tmrw that will move the needle the furthest towards goal X” Very important to give yourself this control over your schedule. When you schedule things in advance your attitude/feeling may change and when you schedule every hour of your day for a week/month out then you have officially lost control. There is something to be said for habit building and scheduling important meetings/events but we want to remain as agile as possible so we can keep our learning loop as small as possible and allow us to pivot for better opportunities that may arise.

2/3

Action teaches faster than reading/preparing. Fail fast to learn fast.

2/9

2 things I learned today, as I am writing the language learning case study I am realizing how important it is to have a roadmap/outline built beforehand.

2/12

currently on a plane from lima to london. I just finished an insane episode, scratch that, 2 insane episodes of the tim ferriss show. Essentialism with greg mckeown and Debbie Millman’s life planning episode. Greg talked about “quartlerly offsites” and barbera about the 10 year plan exercise. It’s getting me so excited for when I am in europe for the next month and planning those 6-7 days to myself. I will use that time as an “offsite” per se. I am excited to surprise emma in new york and very excited for this minimalist tech journey also. I feel as though the no phone experiment will be very fun. I still am not sure what the next step will be when I return to the US on March 23 but I am learning on the way. Right now my main focus is writing, writing and more writing. GET THE SITE UP! My number one goal, get my website setup I think is the 1 thing that will be most effective for my long term goals. I am genuinely enjoying the process and writing as well. I am craving regularity in my schedule and returning home to the US, but I want to be in the moment and enjoy my travels. I really am enjoying learning/speaking spanish as well. Met Raul today. a very sweet chilean man who is a flight attendant. We have been having great conversation. I also met this very nice russian woman and she taught me how to say yes, no, and my name is… in russian. Re genial! If i were to do this again I would make the trip for 3 months. I feel like I’m really getting close to reaching the tipping point in my learning, I’ve made a lot of native friends, and I’m getting the hang of living in buenos aires. I don’t want to lose what I’ve already learned and I’m happy with my progress but I feel as though I’m getting blueballed a little. I feel like my progress has really been increasing exponentially. I couldn’t have known this from the start but maybe next time I plan something like this I’ll give myself a little more time than I think. I’ll have to come up with something to continue learning once I get back to the states to get to the level of fluency I’m reaching for. Only choice now is to enjoy europe for the next month with my friends and family then once I return to the states I’ll plan something. Adios!