Making progress

I took my Spanish language progress test today.  I started Spanish about five weeks ago on March 5 and will finish at the end of May.  The results were mixed.  I tested about where I should be, and my tester commended me on my improvement in a very short period of time.  Nevertheless, she gave me a 50% chance of achieving the required level of Spanish by the end of May.  She said that it is very difficult to achieve that in just seven weeks, but she also said that she was optimistic that I could do it given my past performance.  The news is not as positive as I would have liked to receive, because it means I have to work even harder.  I haven’t worked as hard as I probably should, although I have to give myself credit for learning quickly and meeting my target set thus far.  My wife is also doing well.  She started Spanish from scratch about two weeks ago and is already trying to make complicated sentences.  She’s more bold than I would have been had I started from scratch.
OK, now back to studying Spanish… 

Featured Blog: Global Incident Map

This month’s featured blog isn’t really a blog at all, but it functions like a blog in that it is a news aggregator.  Someone sent me a link to a web site called Global Incident Map (, a "global display of terrorism and other suspicious events" as described by the web site.  The site graphically and interactively depicts incidents occurring around the globe as reported by news outlets worldwide.  If nothing else, it is visually stimulating and could leave you feeling a bit uneasy about the state of the world today.
Three thoughts came to mind when I checked out this site.  One, most of the incidents reported on the site occurred between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn, the world’s climactic hot zone.  This may be because tempers flare in the heat, but with a noticeable dearth of incidents in places such as Russia, China, South America, and Africa, it’s also likely that the site isn’t aggregating incident reports in those regions of the world.  Two, the site still reminds me that the world is a dangerous place even when crime that doesn’t rise to the level of a "suspicious event" occurs. 
Finally, the number of incidents occurring in the United States reminds me that America is also a dangerous place.  9/11 and other tragedies aside, the average American often feels safest at home.  That isn’t always the case.  We will be heading to Paraguay soon.  We have heard that crime is high in Paraguay and on the rise, especially petty theft and the occasional carjacking and larceny.  We’ve been advised on some precautions we should take to avoid being victims of crime or terrorism, including running red lights at night, avoiding taxis, and driving indescript vehicles.  While these may be necessary when we’re in Paraguay, we have to remember that we are potential victims wherever we are, even in the United States.  I feel fortunate that the worst incident to have happened to us was finding our car stereo stolen one morning about 10 years ago.  I can only hope and pray that that’s the worst that will happen to us.
Check out the site and read some of the related articles.  It’s quite sobering.