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Ever Wanted to Learn a Foreign Language?

9 09 2006

I joined the army with a high school friend, and we were thinking about joining at the same time, and get the same job. In theory, this would have been a killer time… but I was offered the opportunity to go to California and study Spanish. So I joined the Army, and went to Basic Training as an E-2 Private as a 98C Linguist Interpreter. My friend went to South Carolina Basic Training to become a Bradley Tank Mechanic. [if my memory serves me correctly]

So, off I went to Basic Training on my mentally handicapped brother William’s 9th birthday, August 22nd. And he cried and I cried and he cried… and we cried… and the parental units cried, and there I was… off to join the military as a blubbering crying idiot.

Well, I went down to Fort Leonardwood, Missouri and finished that up and made some great buddies, some of which I still communicate with to this day… I got in pretty good shape during the 8 week training… since it was August, Sept, & Oct… it was super hot some days, and super cold other days. Overall, an interesting time. So, I connected with some other fellow 98C trainees and get ready to travel off to the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey CA … one of the most beautiful places in the world.

We get to our stationed platoon, and I find out, that I am in the Arabic language course. Heh. Nice one, Gubment. Nice. Im actually kind of cool with it, as all my buddies from Basic were going into a different dialect than I was. So, I had to wait an extra month before my class started.

This was a crock of shit, if you ask me… so I speak my mind to my platoon seargent. I was promised Spanish, now Im in Arabic, okay… now all my buddies are gonna be in a different training program than I, and it sucks. Factor in this… in the Arabic dorm, our platoon was on ONE floor. One. 78 soldiers, One bathroom. Two people per room.One bathroom.

Russian school had 2-3 people per room, and each room had its own bathroom. The place was like a small apartment… heh. So, seargent, might I be able to transfer to Russian?

“Let me see.” he says.

Boom, I become a Russian student, and begin to learn the fascinating cyrillic language of our Rooski comrades. Class begins and after a few months, the Soviet Union breaks up… (this was 1991-1992)… they stop the Russian class. And give us options, learn a new language… get a different job… or go home… Hrmmm.

So, today, I get this message from a MySpace friend, and I thought i would share it.

Quote by Spicy McHaggis
Monterrey CA studying Russian? What branch were you in?

US Army, sir. Were you there?

Quote by Spicy McHaggis
Almost. Took ASVAB, went through MEPS, was going to be a linguist and at the last second had the whole thing stopped because apparently my vision wasn’t good enough. This was actually not to far back and I’m considering having corrective surgery and getting in a year after. Any stories, suggestions or run like hell comments?

I would suggest

[either buy the language program you want, or download the bittorrent mp3 files from somewhere… probably best to buy it, but free is always enticing.]

I would recommend not joining. Heh. If you want the language skills, chances are regardless, they will put you in Arabic. They told me I was gonna learn Spanish at MEPS… in basic, Arabic, but I got bumped to a different dialect than all of my friends from Basic Training… and I bitched, so they transferred me to Russian.

And that was that… They asked me to go to West Point in Basic Training, but that would have been 10 years to the military, and most likely staying in for 20, which would have sucked… I would still have 5 years left though. Interesting.

Heh. So that was that, and that little interaction inspired this little interaction with you fine folks. Now, I want to quantify the fact that I am a proud American and am quite grateful for our men fighting for our flag. And we need new soldiers… I just would recommend if you want to learn a language, get an audio program and do it yourself. There are potentially less bombs and explosions that way.

Hell, you can listen to these language programs at the gym, in your car, in your office while working… if you want to do something bad enough, you will find time for it. That is the important thing, being true to your goals. So, if a goal of yours is to learn a language… do it. :-)

As of now, thanks to Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone, I can carry on small conversations in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and Hindi. I also speak a little bit of English.

Spanish I - 2nd Rev. Ed.: Learn to Speak and Understand Spanish with Pimsleur Language Programs (Comprehensive)

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