Saturday, Sep 17, 2016

Making my blog about living in Ecuador more SEO friendly, I re-wrote a couple of previous blog posts. I want to apologize for a couple rogue posts that hit your mailbox yesterday. The new format will do better with the webcrawl bots, but when I posted them under Topics, it generated a new email to you.

I have a plugin that is supposed to stop emails being sent, but obviously there is another route the emails made it out from me to you. These technical parts of running a blog are my biggest challenge. I really don’t want to spend hours learning SEO but if I want more visibility, then it has to be done. And the many things I do not know or understand about WordPress seem to create unexpected…err…unwanted surprises too. Bleh.

Living in Ecuador today

living in ecuador cloudy cuenca skies

Cloudy Cuenca Skies

The weather has felt on the cold side lately. Usually there is a wind blowing, and when the sun goes behind the clouds it goes from hot to chilly in an instant. It has also started raining again, but mostly only in the afternoons. I find it almost impossible to survive in Cuenca weather without layering…remove, replace, repeat…all day long.

My pursuit of self-development

I didn’t get out much today. I’ve been reading and watching videos as part of my Hard Conversations, Introduction to Racism course. You know what I think is scary about living? Living…and not knowing that I don’t know. This is one of the biggest obstacles to anyone’s self-development.

Whatever situation a person is in, remaining unconscious of our innate ability to live and function without knowing is frightening. Here is a classic example. You are driving a car and go miles when you suddenly realize you don’t know a thing about the road, places you passed, or the traffic that was around you. Still, you were able to drive and not crash…but you didn’t know that you were not knowing something pretty important.

I don’t know what I don’t know

In those moments of driving you were unconscious to “not knowing that you don’t know”. When you snapped out of it, you then became conscious to “not knowing that you don’t know”. You still don’t know any of the specifics of where you were, you just now are aware you don’t know. Blind spots. Transparency. Unconsciousness. We can call it what we want but the end result is the same…we don’t see what is present and around us, and we don’t know we don’t see it.

This phenomenon happens in our assessments of ourselves, others, institutions, and societies. For change to take place in any of these areas, it must begin by a person becoming conscious to “not knowing what he doesn’t know”. From there, information can then be “seen”, discovered, and learned. It is the pathway for me to be able to change my behavior and my perceptions.

This awareness piece is important for living in Ecuador to to help me integrate without being so quick to judge. When I can choose to say I don’t know what I don’t know, it creates space for me to learn. It makes the challenges easier to deal with and overall, it helps me to have a better mindset.

A New Way to Learn Spanish

I have started to study Spanish using the Pimsleur course method. A friend gave us this program to use and I am finding it very helpful. The four of us are each using it 30 minutes a day and it is helping our vocabulary, speaking, and understanding of Spanish. I still want to get into “live” instruction, but for right now I am enjoying this learning method.

First, it is more conversational than grammatical. It teaches words used most in human interaction and conversation. These words are taught in sentences, and new words are re-introduced in a scientifically studied time frame to increase memory retention of them. It combines listening with speaking, and then through questions, makes me answer with new sentences created with vocabulary I’ve been taught. So far I think it is far better than Rosetta Stone or Duolingo. It seems to be sticking in my brain.

I’ve tried formatting my blog post today in a more SEO friendly way. I probably won’t be doing this with my daily blog posts because it feels cumbersome for my writing. Hopefully though, as I write more topical type posts this formatting will be useful for me.