Foreign Language Update

Despite my depression, I’ve still kept up with my foreign language studies. After all, they’re my retirement plan. As I get better at my foreign languages, I hope to gradually transition to a work-from-home business as a translator.

Well, once I pick a language, that is. Right now, I have three tiers of languages, with two languages in each tier. The first tier is Spanish and Mandarin, the second tier is German and Italian, and the third is Czech and Vietnamese. I’m most likely to pick one of the first tier, but the ones in the second aren’t out of the running yet. It’s doubtful that I’ll ever be good enough at the languages in the third tier for them to ever be possibilities, but who know what will happen in the future.

I also still intend to add more languages as time goes by. Next up, I think, may be Arabic, since it’s spoken in so many countries, which makes it pretty useful, and right now I have a coworker who speaks it and could help me. Well, he speaks Egyptian Arabic, but it’d give me something to work with.

I’d like to learn Hawaiian, since I’ve offered to take Alex on a trip to celebrate his college graduation in a couple of years and he wants to go back to Hawaii. Even if I take to Hawaiian like the proverbial duck to water, it’s likely that anyone who speaks Hawaiian would be able to do their own translations into English, so that’s not likely to be my choice.

Whenever I try to learn French, I end up having some kind of traumatic experience that leads to an awakening to something broken in my life (I found the lump that was my cancer the first time and I got a divorce the second). I already know that a bunch of things in my life are broken — that’s why I’m seeing a mental health professional and also trying to start a business that will give me the money I need to make those changes. I don’t want to have an awakening to other things that are broken just now. Maybe later.

There are other languages that are appealing as well (too many to go into at 5:00 am). So, in short, Spanish or Mandarin is likely to be my choice, German and Italian aren’t out of the running yet, and any other language will be fun to learn, but probably will not be anything I can base a business on.

It may boil down to what schools I can get a master’s degree in modern languages at. Wow, that sentence sucks, but I’m going to leave it there and then explain. Not all schools teach all languages. I mean, that’d be impossible. To cover all of them, your modern languages faculty would probably have to be hundreds, if not thousands, of people. I figured that hundreds might be a possibility because some could double- triple- or more up. Each professor from Papua New Guinea might be able to knock out quite a few of their 851 languages all by themselves.

And since my plan is to have public university money and not private university money, that limits the number of schools I can go to. Like most universities have the languages that are popular in high school — Spanish, German, French, etc. Once you leave those languages, the number of public schools that have graduate degree programs drops by quite a bit.

Right now, the best school I’ve been able to find for Mandarin is Berkeley. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to go to Berkeley. But would I ever have the money to live in Northern California? Not unless I win the lottery, I won’t. And in that case, I’d have private university money.

Another limiting factor is that I want to travel for foreign study as well. I won’t have the money to pay for my foreign language degree for a long time (if ever) but when I do it, I want to do it right and spend a semester abroad. Medellin looks like it’d be fun, but the rural areas of Colombia are pretty dicey right now (who knows what the status will be in 12-ish years, though). I’ve never been to Spain, but that’s not the dialect I’ve learned. Maybe it’d be helpful to get out of my comfort zone and go to Spain.

I’d love to go to China, but with the way our relationship is right now, maybe I’d be better off not planning on that. Also, with my asthma, I should probably not plan to study in Beijing if I do go. I’d love to spend time in Liaoning, though, since that’s where they’re finding all of the dinosaurs.

I loved Italy and would love to go back. Doing foreign study in, like, Naples or Rome? That’d be wonderful. Maybe doing my study in Florence, since everyone I know who’s been to Italy raves about Florence. I’ve never been to Germany (or Austria, or Switzerland), so traveling there to study would really stretch my wings.

Well, I don’t have to decide anything regarding school, at least, for more than 12 years. I already have a bachelor’s degree, so I’m hoping to go to grad school for my modern languages degree. Unfortunately, already speaking the language isn’t good enough, you need actual undergrad class credits. So, since adults over 65 who aren’t pursuing a degree get free undergraduate tuition in most states, and since I don’t *want* to pursue an undergraduate degree, I figure I have until I’m 65 to start taking classes. I’ll use that program (in whichever state I end up in) to get the undergraduate hours and then get a master’s degree.

Unless, of course, I can start making enough money actually using my target language before then to defray the cost of both the undergraduate classes and the master’s degree. In that case, I’ll start taking classes as soon as I have the money. I have a spreadsheet that I need to transition to a database someday. I have three shares of stock, ten CDs, and the savings account that I’m keeping the money in until I have the money to buy the next share of stock or CD as appropriate and it’s getting cumbersome to keep track of it all. I’ve also just added a column that will either count up to or down to the amount of money I need. I tried counting up for a while and kept thinking it was supposed to be going down, so I’m going to try counting down for a while and see how that works out.

I actually had something to say about my blog tonight, but I have to be up in two and a half hours, so that’ll have to wait until tomorrow night’s 5 am writing spree. Good night.

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