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Inspiration

Inspiration, People

Episode 10: Your Guess Is as Good as Mine

My wife is going to Saudi Arabia day after tomorrow, and it’s weird, the most terrifying thing to me is that I don’t know what’s up there at all. I’ve heard stories where if the powers that be feel like you’re out of line, you’re screwed, regardless of the rule of law? But honestly, I simply just don’t know much about what goes on over there at all, besides stories that are sensational enough to make the news. Beyond the fact that booze is illegal there and that things ended badly for at least one dissenting journalist, my guess is as good as your Fox-News-watching grandpa’s, if I’m really being honest.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 9̷ 666: Sh*t’s Getting Spooky

“Ho la peste” means “I have the plague” in Italian. The plague, as we all know, refers to the bubonic plague, or Black Death, which struck Italy hardest between 1629 and 1631 and was probably pretty terrifying, since it ended up killing somewhere around a million people, according to most estimates.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 8: Lost in the Supermarket

When I was first approached about doing this here column for Rosetta Stone, the premise, if you can believe it, was pretty open ended and it was more or less this: “You learn a language using our software and then write about what it’s really like to do in the wake of navigating making time for it and retaining it with regards to your actual day-to-day existence.”

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Advice, Inspiration

15 Best Places to Eat Like a Local in Tokyo

Tokyo is quite likely the world’s ultimate dining destination. Tourists flood in from every which direction, often expecting something refined, elevated, if not Michelin-starred. Sure, those options are here (230 of them, in fact) and not hard to find. But…

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Advice, Inspiration

The Best Language Learning Podcasts

We’ve entered the age of the podcast and as this method of media has risen in popularity, so has the use of podcasts as a way to learn a language. From Spanish to Russian to Chinese, there is a plethora…

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Inspiration, People

Episode 6: All I Know Is That I Don’t Know Nothin’

They say that you shouldn’t ever start out any sort of conversation or extended monologue with negative vibes, and I agree, which is why I’m bringing this up at the top of this entry. See, I’m about to talk about something I hate, and I didn’t want to offend the rules of order by starting this whole thing off negatively. I think the above is a smart maxim, and also, just to start off on an unrelated positive note, I think Townes Van Zandt’s song, “Nothin’” is a hauntingly beautiful masterpiece. Okay, on to the negative stuff.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 5: Catching Flies with Chopsticks

Are y’all familiar with the idea of “avoidance behavior?” Clearly, even if you’re not, it doesn’t take a brain scientist to figure out the gist of what it is, but for those of you who would rather not think, it’s a theory that posits that many, many facets of behaviors that we tend to lump in with the notion of addiction are really just ‘avoidance behavior,’ that is, something you train yourself compulsively to do rather than deal with the less savory parts of being a sentient human and all the messy frustrating crap that goes along with that.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 4: Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

In my most recent Italian lesson, the Rosetta Stone in-app police stringently discouraged me from moving on and told me to go back and retake the last lesson, which, well shit, I kinda thought we were past that, so I skipped ahead and oh mercy goodness was I not ready for that. I will say this though: up to now I’ve been sober as a judge when I’ve done these things and this time I kinda let my natural proclivities towards being a wild and crazy individual fly and decided to do this one with two drinks in me.

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Inspiration, People

Ben Learns Portuguese: Episode 4

Olá, meus amigos! This week, I started Unit 3: Work and Play. Unit 3 expanded my vocabulary to numbers, days of the week, meals, and more. Agora eu sei Segunda, Terça, Quarta, Quinta, Sexta Feiras, e Sábado e Domingo! I…

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Inspiration, People

Episode 3: Approaching the Shore

Here’s an extremely obvious take: Language is, first and foremost, a tool of communication and understanding. To be sure, there is art and whimsy and all of that wrapped up in what a language is, but without understanding, without language’s primary function as a tool of communication, there can be no whimsy or art.

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Inspiration, People

Episode 2: Man with a Mission

I recently read an article about this kid who was a pretty dyed-in-the-wool missionary from California, which, that seems a little weird in this day and age, right? Who knew? To put it mildly my interest was pretty piqued right away.

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