I’m learning Spanish

9 February, 2015

In 2013 I spent a holiday with my wife on Mallorca… If you asked me few years ago, I would tell you I don’t like Spanish culture and language. I considered those loud, noisy Spaniards as grown-up kids with their never-ending siesta and mañana attitude to life – so with the lack of better reason I was also negative about the language.

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But during our trip I even started to like this chill-out lifestyle and attitude. And after we came back home I decided that I will learn Spanish. The reason was trivial: I just loved how it sounds 🙂
Some time has passed since then and my motivation went down. But after a year I finally made it a new-year resolution and decided to focus all my efforts on learning a new language. First of all, I needed…

a good reason to learn Spanish.

There are plenty reasons to learn a new language. But why Spanish? Let me just list some of them:

  • it’s one of the most-spoken languages in the world, after Chinese (and English, according to some sources), with over 400 millions native speakers
  • Spanish is an official language in 20 countries; many of them are quite attractive travel destinations
  • with its relatively simple grammar and vocabulary, it’s quite easy to learn for Europeans (it takes 6-12 months for English natives to achieve fluency)
  • Spanish can give me an advantage in labour market – even here in Poland, with growing BPO services market
  • as a language of love, it just sounds sexy 🙂

After that, I set…

the objective. My goal is to reach at least B1 level at the end of this year. Maybe not very ambitious, however it will let me communicate in most day-to-day situations. It doesn’t mean after reaching my goal I’ll stop learning.

Then, I need…

a plan.

Last Christmas I got a Spanish course for Polish speakers from my sister. The course consists of 2 books (23+18 lessons), 5 audio CDs & 1 CD-ROM and it can get you from zero- to B1-level. This is going to be the core of my strategy and should take me 2-3 months to finish it. I’m going to support it with other methods:
– websites like duolingo
– flash cards for vocabulary learning
– repeating phrases from phrasebook in my free time at work
– listening to podcasts while driving or walking out the dog
– listening to Spanish online radio stations (however some may argue if this is a good method)
– some basic reading and translations (short stories, children books)

So wish me luck with my Spanish adventure! In my next post I’ll share some online Spanish learning resources which I use (mostly for English speakers).


Thinking of emigrating

19 September, 2011

Poland’s economy is getting worse every year. Currently the public debt to GDP ratio reaches the critical level of 55%. When it will rise above that level, the government has to re-balance the budget, and that means higher taxes, higher prices and lower salaries. It will also increase the unemployment rate. The coming parliamentary election will not solve the problem, because people – I still don’t know why – are willing to elect the currently ruling party – Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska).

I think the standard of living in Poland will decrease during the next 2-3 years. The GDP growth doesn’t cause the increase  of salaries, because most of it is being consumed by administration, and stupid money transfers, like the promotion of unemployment or earlier retirements for privileged groups. That’s why i think more often about the emigration.

However, I still don’t know which country should I chose. I’m not going to move to any country with worse perspectives than Poland. This is why I don’t consider Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia etc, despite quite warm climate. Southern Europe is also not an option due to current fiscal crisis – even bigger than Polish. I don’t like Scandinavian socialism, despite relatively high salaries there.  The best option for me would be some non-EU country, but that’s currently impossible, or at least difficult.

Personally, I thought of Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria or Germany. Czech language is quite similar to Polish, so it would be easy for me to learn it. I was to Czech Republic last summer and I liked it – nice people, beautiful country and excellent beer 🙂 Regarding German-speaking countries – I know German basics, but I can learn more. Do you think those countries are good choice? Or maybe you could recommend me something?


The story of stuff

12 September, 2011

The video presents a little leftist, but interesting point of view.

I agree with some points – for example, that consumption has dominated our lives. This is because the global overproduction, thus increased supply, of material things. The good example may be a computer games industry, which creates the demand for a new hardware. They work as a “fashion creators”, but working for IT instead of clothing 🙂 I don’t play computer games, so my 2008 netbook is doing very well with most of its daily tasks, like browsing the web, watching videos or listening to music. I also bought my simple Nokia 2700 in 2008 and it’s still working (but I have to admit that I’m thinking of buying a new phone).

Some tricks that companies made on us are very cruel. There are even magazines (like this or this) which consist only on commercial articles, tests and descriptions of different – mostly electronic – stuff, targeted to typical consumers, making us want all these things.


Firefox (or Iceweasel) 5 in Debian

27 July, 2011

I used to work on Iceweasel 3.5, which was installed by default in Debian Wheezy (testing). But after I’ve read about a new release of Firefox and its advantages (mostly how fast it is), I decided to switch.

If you want to  install Iceweasel 5.0 (which is the same as Firefox 5.0) on your Debian-powered computer, there’s a simple way to do it. You just need to add:

deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ squeeze-backports iceweasel-release

to your /etc/apt/sources.list file, followed by:

wget -O- -q http://mozilla.debian.net/archive.asc | gpg --import

and then just simply do apt-get update and apt-get install iceweasel, which in fact will update your current Iceweasel installation to the latest release. (You can find more information about installation here)

I must admit that this update was a good idea – the new version of browser is much faster than the previous 3.5, which I’ve been using till now (but still not as fast as Windows version). It also uses less memory and processor. All add-ons and plugins work fine with new Iceweasel (excepting one, but it isn’t even worth to mention).


I’m back

15 January, 2011

Hi there. I haven’t written for quite long time. Probably nobody visits this blog now, but I don’t care.

I decided to wake this blog up. The reason is – I’d like to improve my written English. I want to stay in touch with the language I used to speak for almost a year. Besides, someone may find useful the stuff I write.

What I’m going to write about? That’s a tough question – lack of topics is often the beginning of the end of a blogger. I’ll start with some updates from my personal life (and I don’t care that no one is interested – I just want to practice English), maybe some tips for Linux or Aspire One users. I can’t exclude more personal posts, like my opinions about current affairs.

So expect a new post soon!


How to export Calc charts to JPG?

26 April, 2010

Have you ever made a beautiful chart in OpenOffice.org suite and wanted to publish it eg. on your website? Unfortunately, Calc doesn’t have this option by default (and I’m too lazy to search if there is any plugin which can do it). But you can export your charts using OpenOffice.org Drawing application – just follow those steps (tested using OOo version 3.1.1):

1. Select the chart placed in OpenOffice.org Calc and copy it (Ctrt+C).
2. Open OpenOffice.org Drawing application.
3. Paste the copied chart (Ctrl+V).
4. From the File menu, select the Export option.
5. Choose the output format (JPEG) and filename. If you want the output image to be cropped to chart size, simply tick the Selection box.

And this is the final effect:

Good luck!


New blog and new ideas

5 May, 2009

Few days ago I decided to start my new blog. It’s in Polish and I’ll be writing there mainly about Warsaw Stock Exchange, investing and economic issues. The address is www.stocktrader.pl, but despite I’m not a stock trader yet, I’m going to start my experience with stock exchange soon. The main purpose of my blog is to monitor my own learning progress and learn on mistakes, but I hope the others would also somehow benefit from it.

I bought my domain in Polish domain registering company nazwa.pl for approx. 3€ 🙂 I use free web hosting on orgfree.com – they provide very good hosting service with 500MB disk space, 5GB daily or 100TB (!) monthly traffic limit, php, MySQL5 database, FTP support and phpMyAdmin (whatever it means) – it’s much more than my WordPress installation requires, and that’s all for free! Moreover, we can install WordPress, phpBB or joomla with just one click. I think it’s the best free hosting I could find.

I also have another (commercial) website idea, but it’s still in its infancy so I think it’s too early for sharing. I can only tell it’s something connected with social blogging. I’ve installed joomla! on my other orgfree.com account and now I’m testing my idea.

So if you understand Polish, you’re welcome to visit www.stocktrader.pl!