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Helena Artmann has a bachelor degree in Communications with a vast experience in PR and the online world. Before moving to Canada in 2005, Helena published a variety of articles in Brazilian magazines and websites, mostly about travel, adventure, outdoor, gear, environment and her favourite activities, mountaineer and hot air ballooning. This is her website: http://artmanncommunications.com

Learning a New Language

I'll call you in KathmanduLearn a new language is interesting. Very. I am suspect as I like the subject and I get fascinated with it. There are levels for this learning and the usage you will give to it. I learned Spanish from travelling and it was very useful. The similarity with Portuguese let me read in Spanish without any formal training in that language. I learned Italian when I was on an expedition with Italians, in the Himalayas. I found it fun – in fact, the language I liked to speak the most. It has such rhythm and flows so nicely that it is a pleasure to speak.

But I forgot both of them when I moved to Canada. I stopped practicing them and, unlike biking, you will forget. Or you will get rusty that one try is not enough to bring it back to life. I also made a point in learn English enough to survive because, yes, my poor English was worse than I imagined. My first month in Canada was a shock when I realized I didn’t have enough English to do basic things in life, like working for example! No wonder my first job was on a back stock – yes, back… Out of the sight of customers and, preferably, out of their ears too.

After more than 6 months here, I decided to read my first book in English – of my life. I opted to read something in my area: the story of Miss Elizabeth Hawley, I’ll Call You in Katmandu. After this first one, I didn’t stop reading in English and getting more and more comfortable with the language. It is awkward sometimes, when you had a ‘previous’ life speaking a language that uses a ‘reversed’ construction. No wonder I can’t explain myself sometimes.

I also made a point in watching TV, as much as I could, to train my ears. Poor ears! They were (and I guess they still are) the worse of my five senses. Very hard for me to understand the spoken language sometimes. Spelling? I am happy no one enrolled me in one of those spelling contests, to say the least. But slowly and steady I was gaining confidence with the language to a point where even radio didn’t scare me and my favourite channel is an AM full-news station. This is something to celebrate.

During all these years, books, TV series and radio stations, some words and/or expressions would resonate and stand with me for a bit, making me think and understand the meaning and the usage. Overwhelming was one of them. Hence was another one. And recently, ‘enjoy yourself’. I can translate it to Portuguese, but it would never have the same meaning as I understand it in English.

Are you enjoying yourself? 😉

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