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😋 Letter 65: Pidgin, Poffertjes, Sponging, Hydrotherapy, Journaling Workshop, Dad's Day...

7 min

What do you spend your time doing all day?

Hello fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from Chicago (for the last time) 👋

It was Dad’s day over the weekend. Dads (just like moms) are the best!  I don’t know where I’d be without Eddy V. He’s quite the learn-it-all himself with a main profession as a dentist (thank you for my pearly whites), a stock broker, gardener, swimmer, biker, dog dad, Dutch culture and cheese fanatic, gin martini enthusiast and most importantly a quality friend!

He lost his dad Wim when he was 25 from a brain tumor, so this year, I’m sending extra appreciation to Dads. They shape the next generation into who we are today and beyond in the future.

I’d love to be tearing up the dance floor again like this picture from the big Polish bash my grandparents threw for their 50th wedding anniversary.

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Now, let’s dive into letter 65 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

Some things I’ve learned through…

📓 Journaling Workshop

As mentioned in my previous letter where I shared my slides, here is the recording from a couple weeks ago for my On Deck Learning Conference Capstone.

It is an hour long with time for some exercises baked into the hour. If you'd like to watch more about my journaling journey and why I journal that's at the very beginning. The benefits and return on investment are thirty minutes in.

I go over the Lynda Barry exercise at minute 37. If you're in a rut and would like to try an exercise that helps find interesting things to write about, here's a demo. From minute 47 to the end, I spoke about mediums to experiment with, how to create your habit, and different exercises.

As I don’t present often and journaling is near and dear, I'd love to read your reactions  and if you do have a journaling practice.

📖 Reading

Steph Smith wrote this essay in 2018 about A Year of Sponge. What does that mean?

I would like to define a “sponge” in the context of this article as someone that rapidly absorbs knowledge or awareness, growing substantially in some way as a result.

I also think it’s important to acknowledge that there are only a few points in life where society pushes you towards a phase of sponge. Some examples:

It takes a lot of knowing yourself to be deliberate and intentional with what you choose to learn.

In order to embark on my year of sponge, she did a few things:

  1. Acknowledge that I’m not that great
  2. Identify gaps in my life
  3. Hold myself accountable and track my progress

What she found was most useful for holding herself accountable in step 3 was setting KPI's. It makes me think about which key performance indicators could I set?

When we think about what to learn about next, how can I stay in the conscious incompetence zone longer?

🏖 Pre-Waikiki Life Update

I'm starting to get bittersweet thinking about leaving soon in less than one week. Will I miss the ‘soothing’ sound of the L train zooming by every 7 minutes? Will this be my last swim in the lake? My last walk around this Oz park? My last time seeing all these dogs romp around in the morning playing on the hill smiling and slobbering everywhere??

I don't mean to get sentimental. It just happens.

I have been checking off some items from a bucket list. These are wide ranging from taking a dip in the lake to going to get my hair cut. My hair stylist asked where Salon Steph was who made my hair lopsided. I told him it was a great place I got my haircut these last 18 months right from the comfort of my home and for a stellar rate from my sister ;)

Something a bit more fun on my list was to finally go to this spa I’ve walked by so many time before. Don’t get me wrong the massage was amazing especially for my scoliosis… but I would’ve just came for the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. I stayed in until I was a prune. I even did some hydrotherapy of going back and forth between the hot and cold water. That was a shock to the body. So much fun!

I've also been cleaning out my pantry of food. I discovered my poffertje mix that I hadn't made. This is one of my favorite Dutch dishes typically eaten for breakfast there. They are mini pancakes or ‘pannakoeken’.

🎬 Watching

I watched this clip about Hawaii Culture called The Daily Pidgin with Andy Bumatai.

Some takeaways that I found most interesting:

🔎 Word to define

Pidgin: a simplified form of a language, used for communication between people not sharing a common language.

Pidgins have a limited vocabulary, some elements of which are taken from local languages, and are not native languages, but arise out of language contact between speakers of other languages. It denotes a simplified form of a language, especially as used by a nonnative speaker. It is a combination of expressions and phrases that are recognizable to those who speak it.


The name of the reduced form of English used in China for communication with Europeans, from pigeon, pidgin "business, affair, thing" (1826), itself a pidgin word  representing a Chinese pronunciation of business. In 1876, it meant an "artificial jargon of corrupted English with a few Chinese, Portuguese, and Malay words, arranged according to the Chinese idiom, used by the Chinese and foreigners for colloquial convenience in business transactions in the ports of China and the Far East," from pigeon English (1859).

The meaning was extended by 1891 to mean "any simplified language."


Hawaiian Pidgin is an English-based creole language spoken in Hawaiʻi. It has 600,000 native speakers and 400,000 who speak it as a second language.

🌟 Quote to inspire

"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." - Dr. Seuss

❓ Question to think about

What do you spend your time doing all day?

📷 Photo of the Week

This is my friends Allison and I at a Chicago Cubs game. Don’t be fooled, we don’t know much about baseball.

My first week moving here two years ago I went to a Cubs baseball game. As it is my last week in Chicago, I coincidentally went to another as a bookend to my stay.

I’m not the biggest baseball fan. Whenever I go to a game I think about the Detroit Tiger’s biggest fans of my Basia and Dziadzia. They knew ALLL the stats. They wouldn’t let us go out to dinner during a game or if we did, we’d have to make sure they had a TV to watch the game.

If you were to ask me what my favorite sports are to watch live, it’d be hockey or football. On a TV, swimming is the best to watch with those nifty underwater cameras that spectators are missing out on.

🙏 Shoutouts

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you want to learn more about who I am, I welcome you to visit my online home.

Never stop learning 😁

Until next week,


👣 Footnotes

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