New year, new site, new adventure…

I’m off on another adventure! This year I’m going to Chile to teach English. I know friends and family will be asking me to write another blog when I leave so they can get jealous again like my last adventure, so I’m hi-jacking my own Welsh blog and turning it in to my general blog of what I’m now up to. “Taith Ellie” incorporates not just my travel journeys but also my learning progress, how preparation is going and everything in between.

I’ll tell you more about the new Chile adventure in another post, but for now I’m going to do a cliché post about my new year goals. If you’re not interested, stop reading now.

I normally don’t like cliché things (unless they’re jokes, and they’re so bad they’re funny) but I feel that in order to achieve my goals I need some accountability, so by writing them down in a blog (even if no one reads it) then I in some way feel more of a need to complete them. Also, they’re currently terrible airy-fairy goals so by writing them out, I’m giving myself a better idea of what I need to do and actually deciding what my goals will be.

My bad goals for this year:

  • Read more
  • Learn Spanish
  • Explore more where I live

Read anything on goals or new year resolutions and you can see these are terrible. They’re generic, they’re not specific and there’s no deadline. There’s only three because “Learn Spanish” is my biggest goal, as I’m actually going to be spending most of this year in a Spanish-speaking country. I still don’t know what life will be like when I move there so I may make more goals once I’m there.

Let’s make these goals more specific, with some sort of timeline where I can see if I’ve achieved it or not.

Read more will instead be “Read 10 books this year”, with at least one being in Spanish. That’s not many for some, but I’m a slow and sporadic reader and normally only get through 3 or 4. My eventual goal is to read the book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” in its original form. This won’t be my Spanish book for this year, because I found it complicated enough in English and I’d like to look back on my first Spanish book as something new and enjoyable.

On to the goal that needs the most work…”Learn Spanish”

Timeline-wise I’m splitting this in to two different goals – one for when I arrive in Chile and one for the end of the year. When I arrive in Chile I’d like to be able to hold a basic conversation – to find out more about people, ask questions about places, understand basic responses and be able to respond to questions myself. So when do I arrive in Chile? 18th April. About 10 weeks away.

But my learning shouldn’t stop when I get there. By the end of the year I want to know more than when I arrived. I’d like to be “fluent” but that’s also subjective and not specific. I want to feel comfortable enough using the language that I don’t feel the urge to switch or translate back in to English, and be happy spontaneously starting Spanish conversations. Using the CEFR I guess I want to be a level B1 when I arrive and C1 when I leave. I’d say I’m currently on A2 as I’ve had slow Spanish conversations over Skype, but having just taken an online test, I only got 63% which puts me at level 0! Ah well, I’ll keep on pretending I’m better at Spanish than I think I am, and eventually I’ll get the 70% I need to be A1.

Lastly I want to get out and about more where I live. Currently I’m in Cardiff and I’ve stopped seeing it as this exciting city that’s waiting to be explored, because this is where I grew up, and it’s just where I live with my parents between more exotic locations. Having spent most of my summer living outdoors, I really miss being outside, so my goals will be to climb 2 new mountains in South Wales, do my first microadventure and do a microadventure by myself. Depending on where in Chile I live, I’ll aim to camp out at least twice and climb 3 mountains.

So. My goals for this year are:

  • Read 10 books (at least 1 in Spanish)
  • Reach B1 level in Spanish by 18th April
  • Reach C1 level in Spanish by Christmas
  • Climb 2 new mountains in South Wales by April
  • Go on 2 microadventures (at least 1 solo) by April
  • Go camping twice (in Chile)
  • Climb 3 mountains (in Chile)

These look much more concrete, and reading them makes me excited about how great this year will be – look at all the fun things I’m going to do!

UPDATE: Click here to read my progress on how I’m doing with my goals (April 2015)

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