Want to learn an uncommon language?

20170125_0035221Uncommon languages, or languages less used or spoken on the world stage. Sure we all know someone who has taken an interest in Spanish or French for example. But what happens if you have an unrelenting desire to learn Romanian, Filipino Irish Gaelic or Korean? Well luckily enough this process is far from impossible, however there will be some extra struggles you will come across along the way. Depending on your location some languages might fit this category and some might not.

Here are some useful tips and ideas as to how to best proceed.

Have good and solid reasons as to why it is you have chosen this path. Are you planning on travel to the said country, are you going to do business with the country either on your or their soil, Have you held a burning interest for their culture or even using this as a means and method of reclaiming or rediscovering your own culture.

Personally I’m undertaking Romanian as I was born there (international adoptee) and as part of reclaiming my Romanian national identity feel I absolutely must bear the language. Whatever your reasons may be they must be strongly held reasons as every language learner has doubts at some point in their journey.

Have attainable goals As someone who can speak conversational Spanish and some level of Italian I can safely say that it will be hard to be successful in undertaking any language if you don’t have goals in place. These goals will need to be adjusted as time progresses if you are looking for high proficiency in a language.

My current ones are (at the time of writing) to have a basic understanding of Romanian for a trip to rediscover the country in March/April time and to know off by heart (or close to) the national anthem and football songs (with meanings) by March 26 when the first international match against Denmark is. I can expect these to change as time progresses.

Know what resources are available The chances are there are a lot fewer books, YouTube videos, seminars and language exchange partners should you be seeking a language which isn’t on the top ten of most spoken in the world. When starting out it might be helpful to gain an understanding of all the options available to you and knowing which ones your likely to prefer more.

Internet translators can help. While the likes of Google Translate and Bing Translator might be improving according to their developers claims, there can still be inaccuracies in these. I’d not usually advise a language learner to use something like this, but when resources including native speakers are potentially scarce sometimes you have to use these. Due to a higher likelihood of error its advisable to write one sentence at a time into the translator should you need to use one.

I’d advise that you do not record any translations created by these translators in any language progress journals you might be keeping. I’d also recommend that you be prepared to have a native speaker tell you the more natural way of saying something or even the correct way.

Singing If you have a particular passion for singing this might be a fantastic option for exposure to vast amounts of vocabulary and how words are pronounced. If there are set rules as to pronunciation this will help banish the pronunciation problems early on. The quickest way is to cut and paste the lyrics into a translation software and sing to them while keeping an eye on the general idea of the meanings. Any use of an internet translator has potential for error but it’s a good way of quick exposure to the language and embracing the culture and having fun while you’re at it.

Doing this everyday (if possible) and ditching the translators as soon as feasibly possible will expose you to new words, grammar and verb forms quickly. You will unlikely know how to place some of these in speech in the start but the exposure aspect is second to none.

Take instruction in a non native language Some of us are not new to the world of languages and if you possess a second language it might be an idea to take a flash card course in that language. That way you are keeping that language alive while actively pursuing your new pursuit.

Facebook and social media If you are a keen social media user why not “follow” some groups in your target language. You can keep up with current affairs in the country (ies) where the language is spoken and get to see non textbook examples. Of course its wise to have daily (or as close to daily practise as possible) as well as this.

If you are embarking on a journey of learning a language that is not one of the most common some people may question your judgement. Please understand that 99% of the time they mean well, even if you find their comments to be “unhelpful at best”

I can expect that in due time my proficiency in Romanian may one day be greater than that of my Spanish (most proficient 2nd language I have) as I feel its my language on a spiritual level. There is true and valid reason why I call it my sacred language.

limba mea este în inima mea

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

The joys of Banknote Collecting

20170116_2017451Yes, that’s me. I collect money as one of my hobbies. It’s a fantastic way to catch a glimpse of other cultures, historic events, famous and historic persons, wildlife and heritage sites worldwide.

So there are many ways of choosing which notes to collect and why, the most common means of collection are..

Countries Maybe its the ones you’ve already been to, retaining notes as a form of memento outside of typical tourist souvenirs. Or maybe it’s those from your country from the age you grew up in. It’s exciting to collect the money the people exchange (have exchanged) in the countries you have been to. Another novelty is where a particular country has multiple banks that hold legal rights to issue notes, examples of which are Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

World heritage sites Do you have a passion for architecture or Roman ruins and other gems? A collection of notes depicting heritage sites as another nice collectible reminder of the sites and period you have an interest in.

Nature and wildlife Sea Turtles, Pelicans, Flamingoes, and varying species of birds amongst others. If the most prettiest depictions of wild animals gracing their natural habitat is for you then a collection of these notes is likely to please.

Commemorative and otherwise limited edition notes If sport and international events are what you live for then there are lots of commemorative banknotes out there. There are one-off notes for the Olympics, Golfing events, anniversaries of national holidays and more. If you are looking for a particularly sought after collection this is the way to go. Due to the rarity these notes are likely to be harder to find and more expensive, particuarly in very fine or mint condition.

People Have a love of all things Shakespeare or Mihai Eminescu or other poets, playwrights and prominent figure in society. There are countless notes with prominent figures from many countries and many banknote issues. This sort of collection would compliment a collection of items of the worlds most prominent.

Polymer The next generation of paper money is here. If you enjoy looking at the enhanced security features, see through windows and then an assorted collection of Polymer notes is unlikely to disappoint. Not all countries have polymer notes as of yet but many of the notes out there are very impressively designed and constructed. While in some degree they are the next generation of paper money they are not as “brand new” as one might have first thought. They were first invented in Australia and a commemorative note was placed into public circulation in Australia back in 1988. Nowadays well over 30 countries (and counting) are embracing the use of polymer.

All in all Banknote collecting can be a fun and rewarding hobby that has multiple reasons that make it a differing and interesting hobby, the sense of excitement can no doubt expand if it involves collecting for a reason related to another interest you have. This hobby is also one of the least space consuming collectors hobbies there is.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

I love women’s rights but am no feminist

So I recently saw a Facebook image proclaiming that to support women’s rights but not feminism because it’s too extreme of a word” is a no brainer, or words to a similar effect.

There is a growing number of women and girls coming forward publically to admit they are not feminists and many have posters with explanations as to why. The “why I’m not a feminist” type of campaign has made its way round the internet and blogosphere in recent years.

As an ex-feminist myself (of 1 year and 3 months) I have some points as to why the number of ex-feminists and non feminists appears to be growing and to why there are many who will put their hand’s up for women’s rights but won’t be present in the room when feminism is bought up.

The growing need to believe everything they believe This is true increasingly both on the internet and at real life events. While having a new cause or newer viewpoint on something is great, to go out and ostracize anyone who even slightly deviates from that view can turn a lot of people off.

Some may legitimately appreciate its beginning such as the right to vote and the right for a woman to own property but not be too keen on the modern-day variety of feminism or even believe there is a necessity for the feminist cause in the 21st century.

Some have no activist bone in their body While not all feminists are big activists or activists at all the image most seen by the public at large of feminism is a large activist presence.

The feeling that some aspects of Womanity are not as celebrated by the feminist cause. Sure from an equality point of view its great women can choose to have a career and do “anything a man could”. There however is a growing sentiment among non feminists that some aspects of being female are not as celebrated (or not celebrated at all) by the movement. Such things as wearing makeup to becoming a mother.

The extreme types that can put people off completely. There are groups who pull shocking stunts in the name of feminism and post the videos all over the internet.While these sorts don’t represent the entire movement they serve to put off some who might have considered it.

They can overplay the victim status Sure many bad things and injustices can and do happen every day, I am not suggesting otherwise. But the feminist cause can and does overplay this to some extent, usually to justify its own existence. Blaming everything on “the patriarchy” might not actually solve all your problems but it may drum up further support within the movement.

The shaming of women and girls who have a non feminist identity So I get the movement seeks to gain new followers or keep who it has, sure all movements do from veganism to anti-fracking. But one of the dirty little secrets of the feminist movement is some shame, ridicule and infantilise women and girls who openly and proudly display a non feminist type identity. Trying to claim were un-educated or secretly internally misogynistic is one way of putting people off.

I hold a number of identities of my own but feminist is not one of them, nor is its sister identity labels of “social justice warrior” or “progressive”.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Is temping for you?

20160312_174655Is temping for you? Temping is a slang term for working in a position sourced by a recruitment agency. Many of the vacancies are short to mid-term and agencies are used instead of the recruiters in-house recruitment team.

It’s something that’s both loved and not so loved by many people for many reasons.

To help you decide whether it’s for you these are some pro’s and cons

Pro’s

Getting to try out differing surroundings Whether it’s the same job with a different company, differing company culture or differing job type all together it’s a fantastic way of seeing what’s out there. If you are unsure what it is you seek out of employment it could be a great means of experimenting.

Better than having no job The act of having a job will give you meaning and purpose. It has and will have an enhancing effect on the mental health of someone.

Provides CV material For those keen to advance up the career ladder but need experience, a handful of temp placements will somewhat enhance the chances of getting a steady job at a later point in time.

Temp to perm effect While not extremely common but not uncommon agency employees can be offered a permanent position with the company they’ve been temping with. Depending on if this company is for you, this could be an open door you don’t want to pass up.

Flexibility Some of us only need to work periodically and others have pet projects they like to devote time to. Agency working is an ideal solution for people in these situations.

Cons

Abrupt endings are possible There a number of factors that could spell an end to your time on the posting your on. One is a sudden drop of business (or sales), reorganisation, cost-cutting ventures and a change of management preference. The reality is that the temp position you’re in and quite like could go south overnight.

Some really bad agencies and tactics Some agencies use some tactics that are not exactly “all squeaky clean”. Some of the unfair practises can be to advertise a non exist job to boost people on the list of people on the books. I’ve also heard of one agency who sent someone out to a day placement only to arrive and find out they were not needed. I’d like to point out these practises are unlikely to be widespread and sadly these practises can give the agencies a black eye unfairly, but these practises can exist.

Some agencies don’t have the backlog of work If you work for an agency that always has new postings throughout the month and year. In some locales and sectors this truly isn’t the case, and you could be back “looking for work for quite some time”.

May have reduced job search time Since many agency postings are not high status postings you may find yourself having diminished time to job search and send out detailed applications that would be required for higher level postings. At a later point in one’s career when they have gained basic experience a decision might need to be made by the candidate.

While it’s not for everyone I’d suggest everyone take the time to consider it.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

To enjoy the future it’s good to get out the past

20150716_170313Nostalgia and nostalgic moments, Wonderful aren’t they? While many of life’s pieces of nostalgia are refreshing to go back to from time to time, if taken to the extreme they could be holding back areas of future progression and you might not have even realised it.

So let’s get into the varying ways an over-extreme love of the old could be holding you back.

Without the ability to connect the past to the present You will constantly be comparing any new experience against times of old. The nostalgic memory will likely be held up as the gold standard of how things were and should be while any new experiences may fail to measure up.

To understand it can impede us enjoying or finding new tastes So you’re a great fan of the Rolling Stones, fantastic. However you might find there’s a whole world of music that’s passing you by constantly if your forever passing up on most other groups of the same genre just to listen to “shine on you crazy diamond” on repeat.

You can stick out to others as being stuck in the past You might not see it but others likely can.

It can hurt you in the perspective of lost time Time cannot be clawed back, no matter how much we might like a 2nd go. By the time realising that re-watching 10 seasons of The Crystal Maze has taken up vast quantities of your time it’s likely going to be too late.

It can limit us creating new nostalgic moments So time spent over focused in nostalgia could be spent on creating new experiences which in due course will turn out to be nostalgic. However you’ll need to “put down the nostalgia to create the nostalgia”. Interesting but true.

Try and discover new content from a group you already like So this one is sort of easy and you don’t have to search for new content. For example I love Pokémon and I’ve got back into it since the days of Kanto (series 1) and the original games. I now have played Pokémon go and Pokémon Sun. All in all its the same Pokémon magic but with extra and updated content that didn’t exist before. This can be used for TV shows, Music groups, Hobbies and clothing brands.

Work on fear of the future For varying reasons some of us may have a fear (or anxiety)of the future. While there is nothing wrong with this it could be holding you back from progressing in life and enjoying new things and concepts.

Overall I think that nostalgia is a great tool for seeing where we have “come from” both individually and societally and if used in the right way serves to teach us something, but getting stuck in it could act as a metaphorical spiders web.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Legitimate reasons not to enjoy Christmas

20151214_1759040On the whole I’m not too mad for Christmas. I am part of the silent but existent minority. I am not here to promote a killjoy attitude but am here to provide awareness as to why someone may have legitimate reasons as to why they might not entirely enjoy the celebration.

So here are the reasons why someone in your life just ain’t feelin’ the vibe

Falseness Ok so some of what goes on during these celebrations is false and “put on”. Typical things could fall into this category are wooly jumpers and some of the more cheesy songs. Which is fine if that’s what you’re cool with. Some of us aren’t so into false charades. I’m not saying falseness is “wrong” but I am saying it’s not for everyone.

Grown out of it Some of us leave childhood and the teenage years and leave our passion for all things X-mas along with it. For some of us the magic just never really comes back once you “no longer believe in Santa”.

The way it never ends Or at least it can feel that way. I am told of a time when outside of the month of December the celebration was almost never mentioned and it was even considered bad luck to put up decorations early. For some of us the sheer bombardment can be nauseating.

It feels far too commercial Back in the day it was about sharing time with those you cared about, and even some goodwill. These days while those qualities can still be found the scene has changed to which it has sadly become about who is buying what, for who? I’ve seen people spend silly amounts of money, sometimes money they don’t even have over Christmas. The worst one is how this mentality has made people over interested in gifts. Every time someone asks me “what did you get for Christmas” a small part of my soul dies inside.

Might be of no or differing religion There are people who are not Christians or Catholics who have no reason to celebrate it. Also many atheists and agnostics may have no particular drive to “jump onboard” with such festivities any time soon.

Dislike that the day must be “perfect” Ok so this one largely depends on who you are sharing Christmas with. Some can feel an overwhelming sense of pressure for “everything to go right” and for the day to run impeccably perfect. Such stress can hurt these people’s chances of having an otherwise potentially enjoyable day.

May have family or personal issues Not everyone has a loving family or even a group of friends to share christmas with*. Some people have personal issues that Christmas can bring to the forefront. These people are likely to have a nuanced relationship with the celebration

*not everyone want’s to celebrate it with someone else

Charity and goodwill should happen all year round So while I can at least appreciate intention of “goodwill to all” and acts of charity I do believe the  whole year is a fantastic time to share one’s goodwill and charitable acts.

It’s not all bad though. I don’t mind someone saying Merry Christmas to me if it’s a genuine act. I can appreciate Christmas is their thing and return the comment. I also can appreciate well organised decorations from the perspective of the fact that someones taken the time to “make the area look nice”.

So we non Christmas lovers can enjoy the day and elements of the celebrations, but if you must go overboard please don’t drag us in with you.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Why desire introspection?

20150801_173659.jpgFor many of us introspection or the process of looking inward is seen as either hard to do or scary. While it’s in most cases not entirely easy nor comfortable it’s a much-needed life skill I have attained a reasonable proficiency in, although I admit its one of those where even I’m still learning and  have a long way to go.

So why would I implore anyone looking for happiness and an understanding of themselves look into the idea of introspection and go on what will ultimately become a lifelong journey of introspection.

Helps us connect and emote with the concerns of others Through looking within and trying to understand yourself both through your eyes and how the world see’s you, you will come across perspectives you may have previously had no understanding of.

To gain insight into our own distress (ess) Were all human and we all have things in life that cause varying degrees of distress. It’s just we don’t actually know what’s causing the so-called distress. I for example have had an identity crisis twice in my lifetime and while I do not deny they messed with my head in the moment I’m ultimately grateful for them as I understand my sense of self in key areas which were always there but “hidden off to an extent” by a number of factors.

To put down the distractions to aim for something better Before you can be introspective at all you will need to identify and limit distractions. These distractions typically are used to numb stress. While I can understand how someone might want to do this the problem will be that the unsolved problem and source of discomfort could persist for years and even a lifetime if not remedied.

An example being someone who leaves a job they hate and can’t wait to get home and drink wine not long after arriving home. A healthier idea would be to admit they hate their current job and need to find something different.

After a while you could notice negative patterns Introspection can be of major benefit to knowing when you are doing something the same way or very close to the same way when something went wrong back then.

Maybe you treated your partner a certain way and they left you, if you can see the signs before doing this again your most recent partner may be with you longer, or even for life.

Face fears I and many others have had times where I’ve had either a fear of a strong discomfort I truly needed to face up to at some point. Introspection (usually) coupled with pressure to do something makes you wake up to the extent of such fears and discomforts and give you a chance of lowering them.

Ultimately do this for greater happiness and satisfaction
 Yes there are times when it will be uncomfortable and sometimes entirely so, but the gift will be a greater sense of self understanding and happiness in the end. Discomfort is not a bad thing and exists within nature. A lobster outgrows its shell when it feels discomfort. Without the feeling of discomfort it would not outgrow its inflexible shell in order to create the new one.

Ultimately lobsters do this several times across their lifespan up until the point as to which they no longer need to grow in size.

Introspection is a lifelong journey that’s well worth taking as why would anyone truly want to be condemned to suffer without knowing the extent of their problem.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Release stress by laughing at yourself

20161014_1026231Laughter, it’s a wonderful thing. However not everybody is willing to see the funny side when it comes to laughing at themselves (all in the right energy of course). There are a back catalog of benefits to embracing laughing at yourself.

It allows for looking within This life skill called looking inward is a fantastic life skill that’s rarely heard of in comparison to others. In effect laughing at yourself allows you self-imposed barriers come down. This can help you see yourself from someone else’s perspective allowing greater depth of knowledge about yourself. With this skill you stand to gain a greater understanding of your strengths, weaknesses and areas you might wish to change now that you see the other perspective.

Gives a healthy place to lose worry about out imperfection Each and every last one of us has imperfections and areas we are not born naturals in. The ability to laugh at oneself is a guilt free and fun way of accepting that we might not be good at mathematics but who really cares because languages are our forte ad infinitum.

A way of being open and warm Laughing at oneself in the right energy will help to exude warmth as laughter is attractive and will exude warmth and a welcoming energy. This one’s more of a general point but is still worth including.

Gives a place to laugh at past events Whether you feel the need to laugh of what you did at a past event or even laugh at the entire event itself (if it was ) laughing at yourself will allow a healthy release of regrets to do with past events.

Can downplay a dangerous situation Some situations are either dangerous or have an elevated level of danger. Laughter at oneself and the situation is key as it can relive any tension regarding the dangers that could possibly be faced. I keenly remember this sort of humour when I went up in a 4 seat light aircraft.

Erase awkwardness Sometimes you’re in a new situation and there’s that awkward pause where everyone feels that little bit uncomfortable with the situation. This sort of humour (amonghts other types of humour) might smooth over that sort of discomfort.

If public speaking use it to attract the audience Sure, you’re good at what you do. Laughing at yourself here and there is good if you won’t to space out mentioning accolades and previous achievements. It also serves to humanize you and keep the audience whether 20 or 200 interested as who enjoys a power point type presentation with no form of character.

Helps alleviate or lessen chips on the shoulder Everyone has at least one bone of contention no matter what it is. Very few of us wish to occupy that space for longer then we need to. Laughing at yourself helps to bring you out of that space. After all who sees the person that is after an argument over politics (or whatever) over the dinner table every Sunday as a role model.

Overall the ability to laugh at yourself will help with a more optimistic personality and will help you gain new insights.There are of course some occasions where this humour or any humour would be inappropriate but these are relatively few.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

Why support the white poppy and Veterans for Peace?

20160716_1731501The white poppy, what is that? It’s a ceremonial poppy that’s used increasingly in the U.K to remember all victims or war and war dead, a commitment to peace and a challenge to militarism.

A group called Veterans for Peace U.K was created centuries later.

Why is it worth considering to support the white poppy and peace movements?

Remembers all victims of war War is tremendously un-nerving and is the cause of multiple injuries both physical and mental. Not all of those victims and dead were in uniform and not all of them were for your country. The white poppy also remembers those who are injured in the most recent wars.

Give those who hold a conviction that peace is the answer a voice There are many out there who feel that war isn’t the way to solve issues. The U.K as well as many countries considered to be its ally have been involved in numerous conflicts in the Middle East in more recent years. If anything the number of conflicts and number of countries targeted by “western countries” has doubled in one generation. Those who truly believe that a military should exist for defence alone have been given a voice.

An active challenge to militarism Since the arrival of the white poppy movement militarism has increased. We are faced with military recruiters in schools, a military themed classroom pack. It’s believed that public support for war is usually low so to an extent war and militarism has to be glamourised in the public eye. This must happen for the “war machine to carry on”. Another insidious way militarism can creep into the everyday environment is like when an arms company like Lockheed Martin can not only lay a wreath of red poppies but sponsor a ball during the remembrance period.

To prevent new casualties Unless governments have a large change of heart we will be stuck with a situation where there will always be new potential conflicts. The white poppy and peace movements may make a potential recruit reconsider whether the military is the right choice and if so whether a front line role is the right choice.

I do believe that every nation should have a military force but they should be trained and used for the act of self-defense and self-defense alone. Over the course of years the history of many nations in America, Europe and Australasia has been one of military offence.

If you believe that a differing way of conducting international relations is not only possible but required for better harmony between nations and less war injured then the white poppy and the peace movements are something to take a second look at

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable

The benefits to hiring Aspbergers employees

20160825_1932111Aspbergers, It’s an ASD spectrum condition which among other things means ones brain is wired differently when it comes to the area of socializing and the social sphere including a reduced capability with nonverbal communication and unwritten/unsaid norms.

Its believed the employment rate for people who have the condition is likely to be lower then the average mostly due the fact that the on boarding process (interviews) and the fact that some jobs and teams require a strong level of “social prowess”.

However there are some notable benefits to hiring and retaining persons with the condition.

Someone who is happy with knowing all the details One area we tend to be great with is we can be entirely content with knowing and wishing to know the macro level of things. If the person loves I.T and their an aspie its unlikely they will have a problem with learning all the new acronyms etc. Best areas for this quality: Science, Technology, Design

Someone who is likely to be fairly direct In some areas of life a reasonable amount of directness isn’t such a bad thing and can be appreciated. If you like to know something is done to a specified standard with no ambiguous language then this skill is going to be a bonus. Best areas for this quality: Engineering and other safety critical roles and some areas of the military.

Eye for detail Since the aspie brain can possess “technical” elements an aspie might be a great choice if you’re looking for someone to arrange something to an exacting way 99.9% of the time and actually enjoy working that way. Best areas for this quality: Flower Arranging, Packing multiple items for delivery, Engineering trades, Quality Assurance departments (of any type of field)

Generally have a high work ethic Its been said by many sources that Aspie employees on average have a high work ethic naturally, this would increase even more so should they like that job they are in.

Typically those with Aspbergers have high IQ’s While an IQ alone is not going to be a skill in and of itself a high IQ is likely going to give the individual a great capacity to learn and even possibly a high desire to.

Routine doesn’t phase an Aspie If your role relies heavily on routines and checklists then we would be a positive fit. Most of us have routines outside of work as well that have to be changed periodically. Due to the fact many of us are comforted by routine outside of work, well be a firm fit for a role with a routine or two.

I personally prefer working for a company/boss who is willing to see talent over the social arena or “office politics”.

I speak as a person who believes she has the condition and not as either a Manager, Psychologist, or Doctor.

Samantha Eaton

La Reina Razonable