Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Learning a new language...

... and that language is Cebuano.  Things are progressing well for my year overseas.  Never having been out of the country though, I'm finding it all rather stressful.  I'm sure that once I arrive in the Philippines, get a place and get settled, the stress will go away and I can enjoy myself. 

The Philippines has a lot of languages.  Being a country with so many islands, there was a lot of geographic isolation which caused lots of languages to develop over thousands of years.  Even within one large island you can have one language used in the majority one side, and another language the other side.  As a result, many people are bilingual and some trilingual. 

English is one of the two official languages.  It is used in official documentation.  Apparently, you can get by pretty well just by using English in the country.  The majority can speak it, although the degree of fluency by those who do use it varies.  The national language is Tagolog, which is used throughout the country, although more predominantly in the north, where the capital Manila is.

I plan to go to central Philippines, where Cebuano is based.  About 20 million people speak this language, and I thought since I'm going there for 12 months, why not learn the language?  I have no idea how I'll go with this challenge.  I plan to leave New Zealand late March, which is 20 weeks away.  I'm hoping to do at least 15 hours of study a week.  That's 300 hours, which probably is enough to make sure that I don't make a fool of myself, but not enough to prevent misunderstandings.

About 3 months ago, I told someone about my blog.  I've only told one person about the blog, which was probably a good thing, so I can have a bit of privacy and make weight loss mistakes without thinking that someone was looking over my shoulder at what I was eating.  My plans for the future have changed (related to my time away), and subsequently I want a bit of privacy.  You can draw your own conclusions, and I have to say that any guesses you make probably would have a degree of truth in them.

For this reason my blog has moved addresses.  I know that I have lost a lot of readers (I peaked at 857 views last month, my highest ever) but really, my blog had entered a maintenance stage where I promised to post at least monthly and not share too much about what was going on in my life.  There are at least 500 weight loss / fitness blogs out there with about 3 new ones each week, so there is a lot of choice.

I've given myself the challenge of turning this blog for the year I'm away into a living in the Philippines blog.  That means lots of personal information (scary, huh?), lots of photos and hardly any graphs.  I still want a graph at the top of each post but that's about it.  After I get back, it turns back into a boring maintenance blog again.