I have been away from the Internet for a whole two days! Oh my goodness. So, that's why I didn't respond earlier to the comments on the last post. I think there is a lot of material there, so I'll need to go through carefully and bring some of the discussion into new posts.
The reason I've been away from the Internet is Rosetta Stone. You all know that I am a huge fan of theirs. I've been happily learning Hindi with them for the last year and I love the way that I am able to feel the language on a very deep level because they don't use translation and my brain goes through the work to puzzle out what each thing means. (Proof that it is working, a new person friended me on Facebook recently and left a comment on one of my photos in Hindi and I was very proud to realize that I understood it and was able to respond. I still have a long way to go before I'm fluent, but I'm making good progress).
Rosetta Stone has a Facebook fan page and I am there frequently, making comments and helping out new users. Apparently, Rosetta Stone took notice of this. They called me up and asked me if I would like to go to New York as a guest for the launch of their newest product. They invited two other people as well (and one of them is also a Hindi learner! He is learning Hindi so that he can communicate with his Indian fiancé's family. He started learning it as a surprise for her, isn't that sweet?).
The new product is another big leap forward for Rosetta Stone. As a company, they are constantly researching new learning methods, listening to customer feedback, and trying to make the very best language learning product possible. Five years ago I had their first offering and it had some problems. Last year I discovered that they had been working on it and continuing to improve it and they had come out with an amazing new version, version 3, that solved all my issues. Now they have version 4 launched.
It has the same great course that version 3 had, easing you into learning and helping your brain to figure out what things mean based on series of closely related pictures. Now they also have a way to play games with other learners of your language, chat with native speakers, and have live coaching sessions entirely in your target language. They also have an iphone app as well as mp3 files so that you can learn where ever you go.
These last couple of days I have been in New York, being treated like a total celebrity. They gave me a free copy of the version 4 Hindi! I can't believe how they are paying back the love that I have for them :)
One of the things I really like about the company is that everyone who works there is passionate about language learning. Every person I met, I asked what language he or she was learning. Every single one of them is learning a language with the Rosetta Stone software. Many of them started using Rosetta Stone before they worked there. Their staff are anthropologists, linguists, programmers, game developers, all sorts of amazing skills are being brought to this product!
This new version will allow me to ease my way into actually speaking with people and I can't wait to get started, which is a great new motivation, since I've been feeling run-down and have not been practicing my Hindi like I should.
This pic is posted on the Rosetta Stone twitter feed.
I came to another conclusion while on this trip. I decided that I am going to stop wearing a bindi every day. I think I'm being too obsessive about it and that it can be off-putting to people to see that and it's making me seem harsh and unapproachable.
I would like to learn to better regulate how I fit in with those around me and to choose what I wear based on what impression I want to create.
I will now wear a bindi when I feel like it or when the occasion is appropriate.