Some Thoughts on Language “Fluency”

Un camino lindo en Mindo (Ecuador)

“So how many languages do you speak?” It’s a question I get quite often, and it’s one that deserves a lot more nuance than a one-word response. Having grown up as a monolingual in a household of multiple languages, I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of multilingualism, to speak two, three, or even an… Continue reading Some Thoughts on Language “Fluency”

Year of the Dragon: My 2024 New Year Language Goals

To celebrate the Year of the Dragon, our Chinese Language Program had a few activities such as 書法 (Chinese calligraphy) workshop. Here’s my attempt at this symbol for this year’s zodiac animal.

Happy Year of the Dragon! Six months in Taiwan have flown by, and I’ve done a lot of reflecting about what my 2024 new year language goals are. When it comes to language learning, I’ll be focusing on four of them — one that is relatively new, and three that I’ve been working on for… Continue reading Year of the Dragon: My 2024 New Year Language Goals

“What does freedom mean to you?” / One Month in Taiwan

“What does freedom mean to you?” This question, asked by a renowned journalist from Hong Kong, came during the keynote presentation of the country-wide orientation for my new teaching position.  As a newcomer to the island, I feel a lot of individual freedom in Taiwan. It’s obvious why one-year grantees end up staying here for… Continue reading “What does freedom mean to you?” / One Month in Taiwan

Looking Backwards and Moving Forward (and a Visit to a Vodun Art Exhibit)

“Sans titre (tête) “ 2022, oil and acrylic on canvas. Jeremy Demester. Zinsou Foundation, Ouidah, Benin.

“Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinangalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” This Filipino idiom, usually attributed to José Rizal, shares a universal truth: in order to know where your destination is, you have to understand where you’ve come from. For centuries, many cultures around the world have embraced this way of life. When I lived… Continue reading Looking Backwards and Moving Forward (and a Visit to a Vodun Art Exhibit)

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[四海为家]: Returning to myself in Taiwan

A chéngyǔ is a Chinese idiom that is typically written in only 4 characters. One that I’ve been reflecting on this past week is 四海为家 (sì hǎi wéi jiā), which literally translates to “four seas regard home”. A decade ago, I would have understood this to mean exactly what it implies: the ability to make… Continue reading [四海为家]: Returning to myself in Taiwan

One-Month Mandarin Marathon + 3 Handy Resources

I’ve been in Taiwan for a week now, and while navigating Taipei is doable in English, one of the major reasons I came here was to become fluent in Mandarin. With one month before the semester starts, I’ve got enough time for an intensive self-study challenge. I was fortunate enough to receive a monthly language-learning… Continue reading One-Month Mandarin Marathon + 3 Handy Resources

“Why Do We Cry?”/ A Reflection on Matemwe Beach in Zanzibar

Why do we cry? I stand where the waves make love With the shore. The motion of OceanStretches my bones and kisses the  Curvature of my spine, each vertebraArched in agony and love, beneath theAncient night and the whispersOf stars and the towering moon.  Tell me, why are you? A sequence ofatoms in motion, of proteins in Lines… Continue reading “Why Do We Cry?”/ A Reflection on Matemwe Beach in Zanzibar

Why I Left West Africa: A Prologue

Mont-Korhogo, Côte d’Ivoire

I’m not happy here in West Africa.  In 2016, I spent a summer as an independent researcher in Guinea. It was my first time traveling alone to another continent, and it turned out to be everything I didn’t expect. It was jarring. It was psychologically and physically challenging. At least for me, it was (if… Continue reading Why I Left West Africa: A Prologue