Learning Croatian + My Home Office

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


This should really be a photo of Cam in his Croatian language class, since that's the whole reason we're in Monterey, but seeing as how it might be a litttttle awkward if I were to come on base, sneak into his four person class with my baby in tow, the only one not in uniform, and start snapping pictures of my husband... haha, I'm sure he'd love that! So, you get me and my home office instead.

Cam and I are both over a month into our classes. He only has three classmates with two teachers between the four of them, and about 3-4 hours of homework a night. It is incredibly intensive, but he is supposed to go from knowing zero Croatian (it's actually called Serbo-Croat but it's just easier for me to call it Croatian!) to finishing his course in May/June (less than a year later) and speak at a graduate level. He's being prepared to be able to get his Master's (sans any English) while in Zagreb. It is absolutely amazing how much he knows already after just a month! If you're curious about the program he's in, you can read about it here. Only three Marine Corps officers are chosen a year for it. I am so proud of my husband and so thankful to the Lord for answering our prayers!


My classes are two days a week and I take them from home over Skype. One of our friends babysits John Shea so I can have that devoted time with my teacher. She wanted a small, part time job, and I need time to concentrate!, so it's working out really well so far. I'm not going at the same pace as Cam is of course, but my teacher assigns me plenty of homework and is trying to go as fast with me as she can so I can be ready for our move. This way of learning requires a lot of self-discipline on my part... which doesn't come naturally to me. I've gotten really good at saying zao mi je, which means "excuse me?" or "I'm sorry - what!?" As in, whaaaat did you say!? I love my teacher and how patient she is with me. The Croatian language is beautiful, difficult, and at times sounds Russian and at others very Italian. Cam and I are so excited about learning it, especially here in Monterey, and so, so, so thankful for this whole adventure.


Cam has a lot of studying to do at night after we put John Shea to bed... I mostly use nap time to study, and sometimes I'm able to in little spurts throughout the day, but usually I'm just wrangling this little wild man and trying to keep him from literally eating my homework and stealing all of my pens.


Since we knew I'd be taking my class from home (it was the only option for me in Monterey) I got to decorate the office. Yes!! I've always wanted a feminine office and I love working in it -- it's full of light, soft colors and some of my favorite prints. That beautiful peony painting is from Kristy Rice. I found the desk on Craigslist and almost didn't take it home with me because of the mangled state it was in and covered in mold. I loved the shape of it though, so I got the woman down to $20 and hoped that Cam wouldn't kill me when I brought it home. I knew he'd either say, oh my word what were you thinking (I've brought home some doozies before...) or yeah, I can definitely fix that! Thankfully it was the latter, and in one afternoon he'd glued it all back together, sanded and repainted it and it's gorgeous. Exactly what I'd envisioned, even down to the French legs.


Sometimes after I finally get my John Shea to nap, finish my homework, dishes, laundry, cleaning, errands, a run, cooking, blogging... this is how Cam comes home and finds me ;)

35 comments:

  1. looooooove that office!

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  2. I'm impressed! My husband is Danish, and while we don't have any plans to move to Denmark, I wish I could muster up the motivation to learn a little of the language. It would be helpful for when we do visit there, plus the fact of my husband trying to speak to our little one-year-old only in Danish so she'll learn. But I always find excuses: like the fact that it's such a small country and so not a really practical language to learn in the big scheme of things. I'm sure I'll regret it one day!

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    1. Totally makes sense :) Though I hope you change your mind and are able to!

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  3. Gorgeous office! I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to learn a completely new language in such a short amount of time. Good for you guys!

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    1. Thanks, Cara... Cam is well on his way, and I'm straggling behind ;)

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  4. This is just gorgeous - both the office and you! John Shea is growing up so fast! Those eyelashes! I wish you both the best of luck with your class!

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  5. That office is gorgeous! I love all the light, and that desk is beautiful. Love the little hand reaching up for mama's homework!

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  6. Gorgeous office and very you! John Shea has the longest eyelashes! :) and I love the drawing hanging behind you - a Madonna?

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    1. Thanks MG! No, I'm not sure who she is - it's a DaVinci I found in an antique store in Pacific Grove!

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  7. What a gorgeous space! I love your office design :)
    How exciting to be learning a new language in preparation for your new adventure! I'm doing my master's program right now, and couldn't imagine having to do all that in another language! haha
    Hope you and your gorgeous family are well! xo

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    1. Thanks, Candice! That's awesome that you're working on your master's right now... what's it in? Haha, I'm glad it's Cam getting the master's in Croatian and not me ;) Hope you're doing so well, too!!

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  8. That last photo = my life!!

    My husband speaks Croatian and spent many summers there growing up. I can't wait to visit with him and check out Zagreb, the coastal towns and islands, and of course Plitvice Lakes! In the mean time, I'm pretty pumped for some vicarious exploring through your pretty photos- best of luck to your family over there!

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    1. Get out! Gosh I wish we could all meet up and pick his brain! We are so excited to get there and explore. Definitely let me know if you guys make it over there while we're there :)

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  9. I meannnnnnnn this is just beyond gorgeous. I have pinned pictures of it!! Dream office right here.

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  10. What a beautiful space- think I need to find myself a beautiful desk like yours! Loving the teapot as a pen holder

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  11. Love your office!! And that you're learning Croatian (I'd call it that, too ;)) - what a challenge! Hat off to you, friend!

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  12. BEAUTIFUL smile, dear! Maybe you should add a "pillow top" to the desk -- similar to a mattress. That way between study sessions you can just collapse :) Love the peony print -- I'm going to have to get that for my sister who also loves peonies! Doviđenja! (if wikianswers is accurate...)
    love you! lanneybear

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    1. Haha yes that is right!! love you and miss you!

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  13. Your office is stunning! And you look so adorable sitting at your desk :) That's super impressive that you'll both be speaking a new language, I can't wait to see your photos from Croatia!!

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  14. My brother in law used to write curriculum for DLI. I loved visiting him and taking day trips to Monterey. Hope you're having fun in the area!

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    1. Such a small world...! What language?! We are loving Monterey! Let me know if you ever make it back down here this year, Tiffany!

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  15. That desk is GORGEOUS! And the room looks oh so bright and airy. So glad you were able to salvage the desk - love it when old things are given beautiful new life!

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    1. Me too, Kristin! Thank you!

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  16. Beautiful! That Cam of yours, what a fella...refinishing old desks for you, taking you to Croatia...aren't these military boys just the best men ever?! Love how your office turned out! I'm hoping this will help get my butt in gear and finish putting mine together. I've been on the hunt for the perfect desk, but never thought to check Craigslist. Searching now! Oh, and good luck with your language lessons! GO YOU!

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    1. HE IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME FOREVER AMEN.

      We need a catch up!!

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  17. Wow, what a lovely home office! I don't think I have ever heard Croatian being spoken. Is it similar to any other languages? The grammar, that is? It looks very difficult! Sometimes I think learning a language in such a short amount of time like that might be the best way to go (if not the most exhausting). But it seems like it would stick in your brain more. :)

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    1. Thank you!! The grammar is very different from english - I think it's a little more like italian, but there's a lot that is different there too... it's tricky! Haha - yes, exhausting but hopefully hopefully hopefully it'll stick in our brains!! ;)

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  18. What a pretty office and exciting plans ahead! My husband moved here from Bosnia when he was 12 and so I have been wanting to teach myself the language also... with some help from him :) Do you have any Serbo-Croatian language book(s) that you use/would recommend?

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