I am nearing the end of my intensive time with French and can say that I am very happy with where I am. I am understanding the vast majority of what I read now and will try and do a reading test from a newspaper before the year is over. My listening is still a bit behind everything else, especially when listening to the radio, however I have begun to work intensively on my reading and listening abilities so hopefully they will both come up in level before the end of the year.
To increase my levels in those two areas I have begun to use LingQ almost exclusively. I even upgraded from the free version so that I could use the program more effectively. I have to admit that I find it to be very helpful. I love the concept of extensive/intensive listening and reading, but it is very difficult to read when having to flip back and forth from a book to a dictionary. LingQ eliminates this by having a pop-up dictionary always present. I have talked about LingQ before so I do not want to spend much time here on it except to tell you all to try it out. As much as I liked the idea of using it for free, I do not feel that one gets the full benefit of the program until you upgrade to a pay version (and come on, it is only ten dollars a month!).
I am currently on the train on the way home from NYC, where I had a lesson with JRL. Today's lesson was a very frustrating one for both of us I am sure. Lessons like the one I had today are huge tests of courage and perseverance. I have gone through a range of emotions in the six and a half hours since my lesson and have landed on a huge desire to get into a practice room and work. It may be perseverance, or it may be ego, however I cannot have another lesson go by like this one did. So I will spend the next month fixing my issues and come back better than I was today.
The largest frustration to me is that I spent the last two months working very hard and came in today feeling pretty good about myself. Unfortunately during those two months I seemed to have regressed on a certain bad habit that I honestly was not paying as much attention to in the time between lessons as I was other technical things. It would appear that I overdid to the point of misunderstanding a certain idea I was given last time and now I must go back and fix those issues which were not plaguing me at my lesson but came back with a vengeance today. If this teaches one anything, it should be that we must always be vigilant! Complacency can only lead to disaster.