This blog started out as a personal blog, then at some point became about language-learning. It’s back to being a personal blog, though my musings are less personal and more about making sense of the world around me through history, cultural observations, and my own experience.
About me: I currently live in Taiwan, and this is the first time in a while that I’ll be spending more than a year in the same place. 2014 I moved to Korea for a gap year. 2015 I moved back to the US to finish my undergraduate education. 2016 I moved to France to teach English at a primary school. 2017 I moved to Taiwan. 2018, I’m still in Taiwan!
I do like traveling, but I prefer living in places for longer periods of time and experiencing them through my day-to-day life. This is also because I’m a homebody, who can spend about four days a week at home without seeing anyone. (I’m a remote worker.) Though I still need to see people. I like meeting new people and seeing friends, and prefer traveling to places where I have friends to see.
Other facts about me:
- Hobbies: language-learning, history, ping pong, travel
- Background: Don’t Ask About My Ethnicity
- Education: Yale University, BA in History 2016. My thesis.
My bio when this blog was focused on language-learning:
My name is Frances and I love sounding like a native speaker in whatever language I’m speaking. Growing up, I learned Mandarin thanks to my Taiwanese parents. Even though I had never lived in Taiwan, when I visited during the summers, people would assume I was a local, as opposed to an ABC (American-born Chinese). My young mind soon equated speaking another language with passing off for a native speaker.
So when a random manga book in the local library sparked my interest in Japanese, I made it my mission to speak the language like a Japanese person. Thanks to great teachers, friends, and the internet, by the time I finally went to Japan for a summer program my freshman year, I could pass off as a local. The process, though, took me six long years. You can read about it here.
After that, I decided to try my hand at Korean… and this time, I was able to achieve my goal much sooner. After my junior year of college, I was fortunate to be able to take a gap year in Seoul. In the beginning of my time there, I was continually frustrated when strangers I approached for directions would reply to me in English. I knew my foreign-sounding Korean was why. Slowly and steadily, however, I worked my way up to sounding like a native speaker. Towards the end of my year in Seoul, whenever I made new Korean friends, they would think I was a Korean.
Of course, I’m not a native speaker. I still encounter new vocabulary every day and my intonation slips up here and there. Like anyone else, my languages deteriorate when I don’t practice them. But after a decade of language-study I have honed my method to get to what I call “near-native fluency.” It allows me to pass for a native speaker in most circumstances I need.
I started this blog so I could reflect on my life and language-learning. I hope that the language-learning part of it can help anyone who’s ever wanted to “sound more natural,” to stop getting “confused stares,” or to simply become a more confident speaker.