Well, it's been a good three months and a half since I last posted an update, so here's a synopsis.
I didn't advance as far in Albanian as I planned on doing while in Italy—I only completed Part I/III of Lesson 15 and that was that. It was almost as if I wasted a kilogram of luggage space for no reason.
Also, I tried to get the uncle that I stayed with for a month in Molise to arrange us a trip to one of the Arbëresh-speaking towns in the region, but it didn't end up panning out.
However, I've started getting back into it the last two weeks, tackling what must be 2½~3 months of backlogged Anki reviews one day, 100 cards at a time, so as to not burn myself out. I'm currently getting started on the exercises for Part II/III of Lesson 15. Not to mention that I've gotten quite a few opportunities to practice my Albanian here at home (well, not here at my own
home, but you know what I mean), no matter that I was a little rusty for the first conversation I had upon coming back to Chicago.
Regrettably, my Old English studies have all but come to a halt. I haven't even bothered to do a single Anki review since late September, but that could easily change at any moment if I just gave a fuck. I believe the culprit to be the fact that I cram-studied through C. Alphonso Smith's Grammar & Exercise Book while in Molise, burning myself the fuck out in the process, in an attempt to rote-memorize the entirety of the material as quickly as possible.
It remains to be seen whether I'll get back into OE, but now that I'm talking about it here, it's giving me a little inspiration to brush up on what I've learnt. Perhaps all I need to do is get my lazy ass to tackle those Anki reviews!
Despite the fact that I brought 1½ kg of Italian-language instructional books with me, I only ended up getting the most use out of the smaller Italian Verbs & Essentials of Grammar
that I had brought with, and once again, I ultimately ended up wasting luggage space. I spoke exclusively in Italian anyways with the relatives that I stayed with in the city of L'Aquila (in Abruzzo) for a month and half (after I had stayed with the aforementioned relatives in Molise), as that aunt of mine is a secretary whose command of dialect is not as good as mine, and it just plain felt more respectful for me to speak to her in Italian for some reason, and her husband basically only spoke Standard Italian with a hint of a dialect that resembles Romanesco (he comes from a village in Lazio 60 km to the east of Rome).
All in all, despite doing little if any formal study, I definitely feel like my Italian improved during the 2¾ months I stayed in Italy. However, now that I'm back in the USA, I'll be putting Italian on the backburner indefinitely.
During my last month in Italy, I really got into Mandarin, and I continued taking baby steps in Mandarin for a month after I came back. I ultimately completed the Memrise Mandarin Chinese 1
course as well. I haven't made any additional progress in Mandarin, but then again, it's not like I ever prioritized it to begin with. I'm still at the stage where I'm more concerned about mastering the tone combinations in polysyllabic words and the articulation of said words in sentences, before I'd seriously devote myself to the language. However, even though I've only been dabbling in the language, I've learned a decent amount of basic phrases and introductory-level words, not to mention tidbits of beginner's grammar.
I downloaded the ChineseSkill app and I can't possibly stress enough how much it helps me improve my pronunciation skills. The more I study Chinese, the more I fall in love with it.