I learned French in grammar school, but primarily while summering at the summer home of with my dear friend Soizic Gautier on Île Callot, a tidal island in Brittany. Each day brought new visitors to the house and spirited conversations during the long evening meals.
I taught myself German during the summer before accompanying the Duke University Wind Symphony during their annual fall pilgrimage to Vienna. Daily visits to the intercultural coffee house Café Hawelka soon brought my understanding to a high level.
During a nine-month sojourn around the Pacific Rim I taught myself Indonesian, quite possibly the world's easiest language to learn. During my month on Bali in the town of Ubud, I expanded my understanding while learning the basics of gamelan music with a virtuoso player from the orchestra Gamelan Semara Ratih.
Over the years I've learned and lost Japanese. I retain enough to order beer and compliment a beautiful woman. Someday I hope to master the language so that I may travel freely in the country and continue my studies of Buddhist meditation.
August 2006 - August 2008 I took my family to Barcelona for a two-year sojourn. Although I thought that I had a good understanding of Spanish, my first outing to the park elicited looks of complete bewilderment whenever I spoke… After many outings to the park and around the country I eventually I became quite fluent.