First up in our Diary of a Language Learner series – Siôn Owen.
Hi Livemocha! My name’s Siôn and I’m from Chicago. For those of you wondering, that’s pronounced like “Shawn,” not like Scion the car brand. My name is actually of Welsh origin, and yes, I thank my parents daily for the inevitable explanation I must give every time I meet someone new. On the bright side, its uniqueness might make my Livemocha blog entries easier to find, if you’re ever bored enough to want to read one of them twice.
I’ve been living in Chicago for about 6 years now, working in marketing and product management for technology companies. Besides Chicago I’ve also had short stints in California and Puerto Rico, and cannot clearly explain why I left either of them to return to the so-cold-it-should-be-illegal Midwestern winters. I went to high school and university in the fine state of Indiana, and prior to that spent my adolescent years in the UK. So, while my accent is now very much American, my humor continues to be chiefly British (I’m a big fan of Ricky Gervais and his grumpy underling, Karl Pilkington). And I still have my beloved British passport, which proved extremely useful on a recent trip to Brazil as I was able to avoid the visa process altogether! I think my American travel partner was cursing my name all the way to the Brazilian Consulate with his $140 money order in hand.
So why am I writing for Livemocha? In short, I’m a huge fan of the site and wanted to get more involved in this great global community. My passion is connecting with people from different cultures, and I hope my role as a contributing author will allow me to do even more of that. Additionally, I’m fascinated with languages and the many creative ways to go about learning them. Coming up with those creative ways, however, can be tricky, so I hope that’s where I might be able to add some value.
And now for a big letdown, I’m afraid. I’m not bilingual! Unless you count gibberish, in which case consider me a polyglot. I always took French while growing up, but of course my teenage mind saw other things as more important, so I gave up during high school. I’ve since polished it back up to a conversational level, but my current goal is fluency in Portuguese. Don’t ask me how I fell in love with this language, but right now it’s my number one priority for both personal fulfillment and professional advancement. I take lessons with a tutor once a week, and beyond that try to spend as much time as I can practicing on this site with a bunch of amazing MochaManiacs.
While I’m far from being a language wizard, I can guarantee you one thing: my heart’s in this. I’m committed to my improvement in Portuguese, and to helping you achieve your goals in whichever language holds a piece of your heart.
The road to fluency starts now. Who’s with me?
Siôn Owen is a Livemocha contributing author and earth’s biggest fan of curry and Caribbean food. He’s learning Portuguese, and also loves helping people learn English on his Facebook page, Smash English. Siôn lives in Chicago, Illinois USA.