French Language – 6 months update.

pexels-photo-1750566It’s been six months since I started learning French. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you might be familiar with the how it all began for me. But let me tell you , beginning is the easiest part, it’s the journey that comes with its challenges, obstacles , achievements, & eventually milestones.

I must however mention it right at the beginning, how crucial I think it is to find the right teacher for language learning, especially when the language is as complex as French.

My first lessons in French took me right back to the beautiful streets of Paris, as my teacher spoke extensively about France- the country, its people, food & its culture. It was sort of initiation, if I may say so into the beautiful & complex journey we were about to take.

Now if you are familiar with the Alliance Francaise institute, they usually have a textbook called Saison for every level of language learning. Anybody who wants to learn French & sit for the examinations arranged by the French Government, have to follow their study pattern, which is what I follow as well. The book Saison however is exclusively in French, both matter & instructions, posing a challenge to beginners of the french language.  I really need to thank the lord & my teacher for not getting into it right away & instead easing us into the language. My teacher started our study with books that the Schools in India have in their curriculum for French teaching, which are arranged in a very learner friendly manner & are much easier & give you a good base & footing with the language.

We did 3 School textbooks, equivalent to 3 years of study of French at school level in a period of 4 months before embarking on the official Saison book. What this did was, it gave us the confidence to tackle the textbook exclusively in French, having by now achieved a good basic French Vocabulary, which initially looked like a daunting task.

I hated the Saison textbooks in the beginning. They just seemed so advanced to me in comparison to the learner friendly School textbooks, but that all changed completely, when I took to time to really look at the content arrangement of saison & the purpose with which it was put together. I can say I eventually came to love them!

Saison just very simple & beautifully captures the different aspects of France & French life & as a result introduces you to French way of living, eating & thinking in general. From the country life to the culture, from the cheese to travel, its almost like a very lifelike description of France & everything French.

French Grammar however has been an area of struggle for me. Especially since everything, every object in French has a gender & everything depends on it! The conjugations are a story in itself.

The book that put me at ease & made French Grammar a breeze for me was Collins French Grammar & Practice. Must have for anyone who wants to learn French.

One practice I must mention that has helped me get better at language learning is my decision of not completely relying on my Teacher for learning & understanding & taking initiative to learn through other available sources.

I want to mention how important Youtube has been in this beginners French journey. I have learned so much from this one particular channel – ‘Learn French with Alexa’. This lady Alexa- She is godsend & make it all so easy with her videos ! I have learnt as much from her as my teacher & if I may say so I almost consider her my second teacher.

So where do I find myself right now as far as French learning goes?

I can say I am comfortable with the language. It feels like a part of me. I understand what is spoken to me ( if spoken slowly ), I have a easier time with the reading, which comes as no surprise since I was an avid reader in other languages as well. I read as many french books as I could possibly get my hands on to improve my vocabulary & to understand language construction, but speaking French my dear is another story.

I still feel like an impostor speaking the language. It’s almost as if I fear the French language nazi will jump out & call me out for my errors. It has a lot to do with the French accent though, especially since we are used to speaking English which has its own accent. I really need to get out of my head when it comes to French speaking, to make my own life a little easier. It’s on my list to make a video of me speaking French & post it on Youtube, but its something I avoid like plague! Work is clearly needed there.

Overall the past six months have been the very best & I am really enjoying the language so much. My goal for 2019 is completing two more levels & reaching an intermediate level with French. Keeping my fingers crossed! Will post another update soon!

See you another time!

A xoxo

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Maybelline SuperStay Full Coverage Foundation Review!

For the Holidays & Parties & Celebrations, I tried out Maybelline’s Super Stay Full Coverage foundation. I wanted something that would stay on for a longer duration & look great in the holiday pictures.

I was recommended this one by a friend of mine who used it & loved it. Did I like it? Here is my review on it! Hope you are having a great time with your friends & family!

Love

A xoxox

 

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!!

Christmas is here!!!!! It’s that time of the year again!

Ever since I was a child, Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. It almost has a magical quality to it!

This Christmas I want to take the opportunity to say Thank you to each & everyone of you for being a part of this little corner of the world that belongs to me & giving it so much love & affection. I hope whichever part of the world you may be in, May you be with the people you love & who love you. May you be graced with the best blessings & your heart be filled with the greatest joy & contentment.

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Love,

A xoxo

Heart of Christmas & Dancember 2019

Christmas is almost upon us & it is that time of the year that we exchange gifts with our loved ones. However not all gifts need to be materialist in nature. Gifts can be as simple as a warm hug, doing something thoughtful for a family member, a home cooked meal or just some wild flowers.

It is important to remember the thought behind the celebration of the festival more than the anything else.

It is also important to remember to be grateful for all the blessings that life & the higher power has bestowed upon us & our families.

Last but not the least remember to share your blessings with those less fortunate. Donate those lesser worn clothes, old toys, books & anything else that you can to those less fortunate.

Sharing is Caring, & isn’t that what the heart of Christmas is all about?

With that thought , Every year Seattle based vloggers Benji & Judy organise a fund raiser through dancing called DANCEMBER to Support those in need. If you find it in your heart to donate to their cause please do. Even as little as 5$ will make a difference.  Know that your money will reach those in most need of it.

If not you can raise awareness about it by just forwarding the good word about Dancember to your friends & family. Or why not just dance & post it on social media to show your support! Please watch the video attached & share it with your friends & family. Every little bit helps!

Love,

Arry.

My Minimalist Room Tour!

As long time readers of this blog will know, I have always believed in Minimalism & I strive to incorporate it in my daily life. So when we moved to our new house, I decided it was time I let go of things that do not bring me joy & only stick with things that do.

I may not be a hardcore minimalist, but again Minimalism means different things to different people.

Here I am taking you guys on my room tour. I hope you enjoy it. Any suggestions are welcome!

Welcome to my little corner!

Love,

A xo

Learning French!

Hello!!

If you know me from my Travel Blog,  you know how much I had always wanted to go to Paris. Paris has forever been my dream destination. It was on my bucket list since I was a teenager! I forever dreamt about it, wrote about it, spoke about it & finally last year I did visit it – Paris of my dreams!

I walked along with the Parisians at Champs Elysee , walked to the top floor at the Eiffel Tower, visited the Louvre, sat down at one of those Parisian cafe’s & more. It was everything I had ever imagined & more! If it was possible I had fallen even more in love with the city!

One thing however did fall short of completing the whole amazing experience – my inability to speak their language!  I had no knowledge of French beyond the basic Bonjour & Merci! And for anyone who has ever visited Paris or even France knows that without the knowledge of the language you will always miss out on the complete Parisian/French experience. That was it for me. Now, If you know me well, you will know  that I am someone who will always jump in wholeheartedly at a new idea that catches my fancy & see it through! That is just how I roll.

Flash Forward, I come back & I dive in head first to find myself a French teacher!

Now if you are a working professional in India, there is no way that you can manage time to pursue anything new during your weekday. There is no such thing as Work & Life balance. We are workaholics & proud of it! ( Although now I can proudly say, I am a very vocal advocate of work life balance, I make it work.)

The search for the ultimate French teacher was real. I looked online, asked friends for recommendations, met with teachers, took demo classes but nothing seemed to be working out as per my requirement.

In the mean time I got busy with work, had new responsibilities that kept me busy, so there was some gap in the hunt!

A friend at work recomended I downloaded an APP that connects you to any service provider you want. I thought heck why not, so I put down what I was looking for & a few french teachers responded. I called a few & decided against them for one reason or another.

It was among the many applicants I came across a teacher with impressive credentials, who stayed close to me, & was also willing to work with me as per my schedule, but the catch – she was to be out of town for a couple of weeks! The wait real.

My desire to learn french only grew that much more when I got the opportunity to visit Europe again for another holiday. It was Eastern Europe this time, but Europe never the less. Once I was back from Europe, I resumed work & was just checking my messages that I may have missed , which is when I came across a message from the perfect teacher!!!

I just knew it had to work out ! She was back in town & was ready to meet up with me if I was still interested!

It was unbelievable! I called her right away & we agreed to meet up!

It was like magic, the minute I met her, she asked me all the right questions. She understood what I was looking for,  answered a million of my questions. ( I ask a lot of questions! I am that first bench er with glasses, total nerd kid & proud of it! )

She was the one for me! ! She was willing to work with me & arrange the classes according to my schedule! We said Yes to each other and turns out not just each other ( now this is the fun part ) my cool tribe from school days as well! Four of my friends too! I  met my friends after days & just happened to mention that I was starting with French in a few days & they decided they wanted to join in too! For two of them it was relevant to their work & for one it was like she wanted to learn French for fun!

So this is the part where I can totally say, we are living happily ever after.

I am about to complete my first level of French this month & starting with level two!

Je parle at least little Francais ! 🙂

Now I would really appreciate help from you guys too! Any French speaking readers out here?? Would appreciate any advice, tips, book suggestions for me to get better at the language!

DO you have a language story as well? I would love to hear it! Do leave it in the comments section below!

You see, All’s well that ends well – Eventually ( After not giving up! )

Love,

A xo.

 

Have a Dream & a Coffee Can!

I personally believe that it is so important to have a Dream. Something you wish to do, wish to have, wish to experience. Something that keeps you going in life.

My dream ever since I was a child was always Traveling around the world.

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When I was 7, my Mom got me a Game that came with a World Map & a couple of knowledge cards. The whole purpose of the GAME was to help me improve my knowledge of the world ( Life of an Asian Kid! ) It involved 2 players. The first had to point out a place on the map & the second player had to ask a Question relating to the place from the knowledge cards & vice-versa. The player that got the most correct answers would win!

I would play by the rules with my mom & dad but my childhood best pal Nikita & I, we had our own interesting version of the game! We would each take chances at picking a location on the map & pretend we were out to explore that place & would have our own Imaginary adventures!

Other times we were owners of a pretend Travel agency. Air-hostesses the next. But it was always something Travel related. This went on for a very long time with the two of us!  It was very clear to whoever witnessed our play, that we would both suffer from a chronic case of Wanderlust as adults!

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Yep, that’s her!

Today Nikita lives in Australia & travels around the world in her spare time & tries out all the adventure sports there are to try out! As for me, I travel enough to have Travel Blog.

I think the only reason why both of us did end up seeing the world as Adults is because every since we were children, that was our greatest Dream & coupled with it was also an intense desire for it to come true & doing everything we could that would help on the way to it.

I often get comments on my Blog, where people tell me that they wish to Travel, see the world, meet new people & experience wanderlust for themselves, but cannot. They have their own reasons as to why they cannot do so. They vary from having a family to look after, an old person to care for, a career that does not allow them to take time off or financial issues. And honestly, I get it. They are genuine reasons. I always wondered what the right response to these comments was.

It was yesterday when while watching a previous Super Soul Sunday episode of Oprah with Elizabeth Gilbert that I found the answer.

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Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the amazing Book ‘Eat,Pray, Love’, narrated a story a reader of hers shared with her. I am going to share that story with you.

The readers mother ( lets call her Amy) was born in a typical Irish catholic home in the 50’s & did what her mother & her grandmother & every other woman in her family had done before her. She got married at 18 & went on to have 5 kids in a row.

When Amy was 28, her husband left her. Just up & left. Amy was then left with 5 kids to raise. Her eldest then was 10 & the youngest 2 months old. The burden of holding her family together was on her & she did it take it upon herself to look after them as well as she could. It took a lot of efforts & sacrifices on her part which was pretty heroic in itself.

But there was also this one thing that she did, when it dawned upon her that her husband was never coming home again.She promised herself that her life would not always look this way, filled with so much sorrow, so much poverty & so much oppression in it. She promised herself that one day she would travel the world on her own.

She then got herself a coffee can, a regular coffee can. She kept it at the back of her cupboard where her children could not see it & everyday since the day her husband left, she put one dollar a day in it.

Amy knew there were always going to be hard times & there was always going to be trouble with money but one dollar was something she could spare. She never touched those coffee cans all the years & continued to put in one dollar every single day filling coffee cans after coffee cans.

After 20 years when her kids were all grown up & when her last kid left her house, that she finally cashed in those coffee cans & brought herself a ticket to travel around the world alone, as she had promised herself she would do!

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This exceptional story of heroism & Dreams answers almost every question relating to our quests. Whether it be traveling the world, writing a book, running the marathon or something else. What I want to convey through this story is simple.

Don’t give up on your quest! Keep the dream alive! Have a plan!

If you don’t have a Dream yet, I encourage you to have one from this coming year.

Take a birds eye view of things. Sometimes we don’t get things instantly. We have to wait for the right time for them to come true & honestly that’s okay. It took me a long time to make my dream of traveling the world come true, but now, almost 20 years later it is finally happening for me. It will happen for you too.

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Get a dream, keep your dream alive & get that Coffee Can ( A literal one or a Planner in its place, whichever is relevant)

Let us together declare the coming year as ‘The Year of the Coffee Cans ( & have lot of coffee in the process, wink wink 😉 )

I would love to hear about your dreams & plans too! Do leave them in the comments section of this post!

Much Love,

Arry.

 

Writing Spaces!

Every writer has a specific writing set up where he/she feels most comfortable. A cozy corner of their own, a proper study, a beautiful little coffee shop, a Garden, whatever gets the writing flowing! Writers, professional or amateurs alike, I find, are choosy when it comes to writing spaces. Creativity brings with it certain Quirks!

For me Personally, person-woman-apple-hotel-large

This is how I write – Sitting up on my bed, in my room at home, with a cup of tea or coffee!

I usually write on my Laptop! Although when I started Blogging, it was from my cell phone! It was a random idea to blog! I had always maintained Journals, but never went online with it. It was a couple of blogs later when I really got serious about blogging & wanted perfect themes & backgrounds that I moved to my Laptop.

I like perfect silence & hate being disturbed when I am writing. It makes me irritable very quickly, when somebody interrupts my flow of writing & I lose my chain of thoughts. I find it very difficult to get back on track, hence need to have a quiet environment & no disturbance. It makes me wonder how people find coffee shops a great place to write! You need to be incredibly focused to not get disturbed by all that noise!

I sometimes find inspiration when I am running in the morning at the park. So once in a while I do write mini posts from there as well. Usually it is my observations or Aha moments that I try jotting down( What is it with Mother Nature & AHA moments!? )

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It takes a long time for me to write. I usually start building a post by jotting down ideas in my Writing Journal & when I am sure I have covered all the points I need to convey, I finally get down to writing it. I write, edit, write, edit a million times before finally Publishing a post! That’s just me!

I have reached a point where I have a schedule of posting & it is not random anymore. Unless of course I am taking a blogging class ( which I find are very helpful ). Even when I ideas pop up in my head everywhere & anywhere, my writing space now is mostly my room ( which I totally love, Its my Zen place! )

What about you guys? Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have certain quirks when it comes to writing? I’d love to know! Leave a comment down below!

Love,

Arpita.

Are You My Target Audience?

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My Assignment today at Blogging101 is to Identify my ‘Target Audience’. To be very honest, I don’t really like the words ‘Target Audience’ for my readers here at ‘It’s Arpita’s Life’. It seems very business like to me. Not my style.

The thing I have always looked at my Blog as an Airport Lounge of sorts.

When you are Traveling & waiting at the Airport Lounge to board your flight or in between flights, you don’t really know who is going to come & settle in the chair next to you. But sooner or later, somebody walks in, settles down, either of you says hello, the usual conversations take place. You exchange stories about your Travels, the place you are from & where you are headed, so on & so forth. But there are also certain instances when you meet a person as a strangers, but when you part, you part from a friend. (True Story)

So basically my ‘Target audience’ is everyone & anyone with a story to share, those willing to turn from a Stranger to a friend & those who love a hearty conversation over a cup of Coffee/Tea ( you at your place, me at mine, till a better way is worked out by WordPress)

Somehow, I find that I have succeeded at finding my Target Audience! I have met so many wonderful strangers from exotic places here(Every place is exotic) who later became dear friends today.

There is so much I have shared that is close to my heart. Life Lessons I have learned, Books I have loved, My move to my new Apartment, my lifestyle choice of Minimalism & my love for Charity. You share stories this close to your heart generally with your friends, right? So I have it figured out I believe!

To all my new readers, from Bloggin101 community & otherwise, I say this – Come as a stranger, leave as a friend.

So are you my Target Audience???

-Arry.

 

Scholar PU Magnet Notebook Review!

Scholar Stationery is premium quality paper stationery brand in India since 1958. I personally have been using their Notebooks since my school days.

You should know by now that I am an absolute fan of Diaries, Planners & Notebooks. I am always looking out for beautiful ones that are easy to carry around.

So the other day when I came across this cute little Notebook by Scholar Stationery I decided to get it.

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The Scholar PU Magnet Notebook is a perfect for taking notes on the go. It comes with a Premium Italian PU Cover which makes it look really good.

The size of the paper sheets used in the Notebook is A6 which is an ideal size for me as it fits comfortably in my handbag.

The Notebook has rounded back & corners & has a magnetic flap for closure. The magnetic flap holds the notebook together & the pages are safe from being crumpled, which is something I always look for in my Notebooks & Planners.

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Lets take a look at the pages inside.

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The name page
The Notebook is very simple but has some unique features.

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The Notebook comes with 192 pages that are ruled. You do not have the option of Blank Pages. But here comes the part that I love. On the top of each page you have a date option which you can put in your self & also next to it you have the day option. You just have to tick the day of the week your are jotting the notes on!

I always wanted this feature in my Notebook. Helps me remember the day I took down a particular note.

The Notebook is relatively inexpensive & costs around 4$ which I think is very less for a notebook of such good quality.

Pros

The Price.

The Looks & Quality of the Notebook.

The Date & Day Feature that one has to fill in on ones own.

The size

The Magnetic Flap.

Cons

I wish they came up with a Blank Pages version along with the ruled one.

Summing it up

I absolutely love the Notebook. Its Simple, yet looks really great. The Quality of pages is also pretty good. The best thing however is the Price!

Will I recommend it – Absolutely!

Rating – 4.5/5

For Indian Readers – The Scholar PU Notebooks are available on Amazon & Flipkart. You can also visit their website to look at the available color options http://scholarstationery.com

Regards,

Arry.