Sunday was a lovely spring day.
Not sunny. But warm. And not too hot.
A good day for a walk.
So I finished my coffee. I got dressed. I put on my hiking boots. And I left the house.
I walked across the yard. I walked past the barn. I walked up a hill. And then I stopped.
In front of me was a field of tall grass, then a forest.
I got afraid, turned around, and went back inside.
SHIPWRECKED IN PARADISE
If you’re new to these emails, welcome! Every day I give you some tips, and also let you know what’s happening in my life.
I’m currently staying on my family’s farm in the Virginia countryside.
I was on my way back to Europe after a one year experiment working inside an office in Baltimore. Then the borders and airports closed and now I’m shipwrecked in paradise.
I guess we’re all shipwrecked in one way or another. Maybe the virus police make you stay inside your apartment all day. Or maybe you planned a summer holiday but the airline cancelled your trip.
My island is this farm. It’s not a bad place to be now. But it just got a little smaller.
You see, about a month ago I went on a walk and found a tick (an “insect” that likes to drink your blood) had made his new home on my stomach. I showed him a better home — the toilet — but a few hours later the spot turned red, and a few days later I started feeling tired and achy.
So I went to the doc. He gave me some strong pills. And now I feel fine again.
But I know my tick must have thirsty friends. And I know they’re in the tall grass waiting for me.
That’s why I turned around.
And my other options are limited.
leaders masters say we can go to Walmart where we can see and sneeze on all our neighbors. But we cannot go for a walk in the 199,000 acre Shenandoah National Park. As everyone knows, Chinese viruses love to hide behind trees and jump out and attack when you walk by.
At least there are books and the internet.
One of my new hobbies is learning Italian.
Part of the Vig Method is to take language learning in stages.
There’s a correct order for every skill.
If you want to learn basketball, piano, kung fu — and if you take lessons from a good teacher — he or she will break the skill up into smaller pieces and teach you each separately.
For language, and for English, the order I’ve found works best is this:
First, learn the sounds.
Second, learn the most important words.
Third, lots and lots of input — first listening, then reading, then TV.
And finally, speaking.
For Italian, I’m still on step two — words.
Every morning I learn 20 new words and review about 100.
By mid-June I’ll be at 1,000 and ready to start listening to something super easy.
But I’m already thinking about speaking.
That’s the fun part, right?
The real test.
So this week I’m going to write about that.
What should you talk about in your first lessons with a new teacher?
How should you choose a teacher?
What should you NOT talk about?
And tomorrow we’ll start with correction.
Should you ask your teacher to correct your mistakes?
A lot of teachers and students say “Yes.”
But I say “No.”
I’ll tell you why tomorrow.