Sunday, May 22, 2016

Resolutions Reflection 2016: Realigning in May

I'd meant to have quarterly "resolution reflections" this year, but it wasn't until last week that I sat down and took a closer look at my three 2016 resolutions, to make sure they were all still where I wanted to be heading—where I wanted my focus to be. (Here had been my latest checkpoint, by the way, at the end of April.)

Here's what I found out:

Regular volunteering: Not a priority

After having been in Montpellier for just over a month, and in my new home for over two weeks, I've quickly become involved in a variety of Meetup/Couchsurfing weekly events. I think one result of this new social life is that I don't have as strong a desire to find a regular local volunteer opportunity as I did when I was living in Rodez. In Rodez I felt like an outsider, and also had free time on my hands—so volunteering seemed like the perfect way to give back while getting to know Rodez and its citizens.

But even after just a few weeks in Montpellier, I already felt like I was getting integrated. I want to spend my remaining free time on other priorities, as you'll see below, so I'm no longer going to seek out and commit to a regular local volunteer opportunity here.

Helping others is a huge part of who I am, so this is by no means me writing off volunteering. In fact, my new roommate is an elementary school teacher, and he said I could come in to school some day to teach his class ultimate frisbee—in English. I would totally love getting to teach in a school / interact with French kids via my roommate's school, so I'll pursue this! I've also been playing with ideas of some free English workshops / English drop-in tutoring events I could offer in the city center.

And a woman from Madison's Hostel recently got in touch with me to give a talk about walking the Camino. So between that, talking at my local high school, and serving as an alumni volunteer to current students again for that event as I did last fall and spring, I have plenty of opportunities lined up to give back the next time I'm in Wisconsin as well.

Korean food guide: Still here, and now kicking?

I don't remember exactly when it came back into focus, but it was either a week or two ago that I thought why don't I finish this damn thing instead of dragging it on and on and on. So in the back of my mind, I'm aiming to finish the entire guide before my sister arrives, so that gives me one month. 

I worked on it three different days last week, and then for several hours yesterday afternoon and another hour or two tonight. I'm maybe 50% done with the content. My goal is to spend at least 25 minutes per day on the guide (more on weekends), and to make this a #1 priority. 

So, although my focused French study has fallen to the wayside (as you'll see below), I'm going to let it continue to fall between the cracks in order to work on this e-guide. Korean food guide, I will finish creating you!

French needs more focus and attention

Although I'm still watching French shows on Netflix, listening to French music, talking with my roommates and other French speakers at events, I need to (and want to) bring French back into focus. I'd left it off of my 2016 resolutions because I knew it was part of my life now, but I'm not giving it the attention it needs.

It's kind of like practicing an instrument. You can play songs you like through and through, but that's just playing. You're only going to improve when you practice: dissect small measures, work the hard spots until they're smooth.

I feel like my French has turned into playing, which is keeping me at the same level, but I need focused practice in order to improve.

I created a new quick blog the other day where I'll create my plan, track my learning, and practice writing in French, but I'm not going to get that started until I've finished my Korean food guide.

So, in summary, here's where my focus will be (in terms of three resolutions)...

For the next month:
1. Korean food guide
2. Calligraphy
3. Values

After that:
1. French
2. Calligraphy
3. Values (Notably creating, nature)

(Plus some English workshop, drop-in tutoring, 30-day workbook ideas)
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