All posts by Dwane

Living Forward

This week I received this note:

Hi!  Just wanted to let you know how we LOVE visual latin – my two older kids do it with me. : )

Are you planning to ever do a video series for visual greek? We would buy it.

You probably don’t need any more things about goals but here is another one. :- ) The book “Living Forward“, is the free audiobook of the month for January at You just sign up and get it.

Here is my reply:

Good morning!

I am moving back to Greece in two months… for one reason.  I am moving back to become fluent in Greek so that I can produce something like Visual Latin… for Greek.

Now the bad news.

Unfortunately… it’s going to take me a while.  I am estimating six more years.  My goal is to have the course available by my 50th birthday.

As for Living Forward, I am always looking for more books about goals.  Sounds like my kind of book.  Just downloaded it.  I am going to try to listen to some of it today and tomorrow.  If I love it, it will become the “tip of the week” thanks to you!  In our aimless culture, I feel people need to be constantly reminded to stay on course.


Well, I read it.  Sure enough, it is a good reminder not to be aimless in our aimless culture.  The book is full of practical tips for identifying your life’s goal and direction.  It was not my favorite book on the subject, but, given the price, I find it easy to recommend.   All you have to provide is your email.

I listened to the book while driving and while running.  Well worth the time and the email.

Get it here for free this month:

Dwane Thomas’ Tip of the Week, January 14, 2017

The National Latin Exam

I have decided to offer a National Latin Exam preparation class.

During this class, we will practice taking the National Latin Exam together.  Students will have the opportunity to ask specific questions during class.

Classes will meet once a week during the spring semester of 2017.  Though the schedule is SUBJECT TO CHANGE, we plan to meet for 18 weeks from January 11 to May 24.

There will be a break at some point as I am moving to Athens, Greece in March of 2017.

Current subscribers to this site have full access to class.  Email me for the link at


As I blog my way through my study of Italian, I am considering bring the “Word of the Day” back.

For several years, I posted consistently.  Then, in the craziness that was for me 2016, I dropped the ball.  But, I miss it.

I am going to attempt to resurrect the habit.  We shall see.

I will attempt to blog my way through the “language museum” located at the end of the Loom of Language.

Here goes:

Air: the invisible gasses that make up the atmosphere.  Air comes from Old French, air.  which came from Latin aer (atmosphere, sky; cloud).  The Latin word is related to the Greek αέρ (modern αέρας).

The word Air looks familiar in many modern Latin-derived languages.

  • French – l’air
  • Italian – l’aria
  • Spanish – el aire
  • Portuguese – o ar


My family and I are very likely moving back to Greece in March.  If I can figure out visas, we will be there for five months, or so.

Several people have commented lately that I am lucky.

Maybe, I am.  Who’s to say?

My son is a photographer.  He travels quite a bit.  Several days ago, a friend of his commented on my son’s “luck”.  “I could never travel as much as you do,” he said.  “I couldn’t afford it.”

My son pointed to the Apple watch his friend was wearing.  “How much was that?”

“$300,” responded his friend.

“And the jacket you are wearing… How much was that?”

“Also $300,” responded his friend.

My son smiled.  “That’s enough to get you to most of the places I visit.”

I don’t consider myself that lucky.  I did grow up in Europe, and I suppose I was very lucky to be born in England and raised overseas.  However, I returned to the U.S. when I was 18.  I realized quickly that I did not want to stay here very long, and began working hard to return to Europe.

It took 26 years.  I left Europe after the Berlin Wall fell, and after Germany re-united in 1990.  I vowed to return as soon as I could.  26 years later, in 2016, I finally returned.

In order to achieve my dream of moving my family to Europe, I knew that I would need a significant amount of money.  Living in Europe is fairly cheap.  For example, rent in Athens, Greece is 74% less than rent in Nashville, Tennessee.

Living in Europe is much cheaper that living in America.  Getting to Europe is expensive.

Unfortunately, early on in my life, I made a major financial mistake.

I became a teacher.

It wasn’t long before I realized my mistake.  By the time I realized what I had done, there were children on the way.  I couldn’t afford to leave education in order to hunt for another job.  Education is a little like the Hotel California.  You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.

To fulfill my dream of returning to Europe, and to fulfill my dream of taking my wife and children to the land of my youth, I would have to make deep sacrifices here in America.  Given my teacher’s salary, I had to take a completely different approach.

For 20 years, as a teacher, I earned about $25,000 a year.  That would be just fine in parts of Europe.  In America, $25,000 ensures that you barely make it.

For the last 10 to 15 years, I have been getting out of bed at 3:30, or 4 in the morning.  Originally, I did it in order to study Latin.  These days I do it to study Italian and Greek.  I built a business on these languages.

Does that sound like luck, or sacrifice?

(By the way, I am not recommending that you do the same.   I wrecked a car once because I fell asleep.  If you don’t listen to me, perhaps you will listen to Mark Twain.  Rise early. It is the early bird that catches the worm. Don’t be fooled by this absurd law; I once knew a man who tried it. He got up at sunrise and a horse bit him.”)

For seven years, my family of seven lived in a two-bedroom 950 square foot apartment/condo.  My wife and I pulled a mattress out every night so that we could sleep on the living room floor.

Does that sound like luck, or sacrifice?

For years, I delivered pizzas at night to bring in extra cash.  While driving around Franklin, I would listen to language training cassettes or business building cassettes.  I still listen.  I refuse to listen to the radio, the news, or pop music.

Does that sound like luck, or sacrifice?

For years, I drove very old cars.  In fact, I still drive very old cars.  Not long ago, one of my daughters spotted our van quickly in a crowded parking lot.  I asked her how she did it.  “It was easy, dad,” she said.  “I just looked for the rough among the diamonds.”  Heh.  When I threaten my kids, it is almost always the same threat.  “If you keep that up, I am going to leave my truck to you when I die”  Their response is always the same.  “No, dad!  Anything but that!”

Does that sound like luck, or sacrifice?

I could go on, but here is the point.  We are constantly bombarded by materialism in America.  “Buy this!  Buy that!”  Here’s the dirty little secret no one tells you.  You don’t need it.  If fact, if you buy it, you are making a choice.  You are choosing between your dream and the dream of advertisers.

Mother Teresa once said, “The more you have, the more occupied you are.  The less you have, the more free you are.”

My family is frugal.  Extremely frugal.  Sacrificially frugal.  This is the secret to our “luck”.

The average cost of a house in Franklin, Tennessee is $269,000.   Actually, I live here.  I am not sure where those houses are.  Seems to me the average cost is higher.  Instead of a house, we bought a condo for $90,000.

These days, the average cost of a new car is around $33,000.  For cars, my family usually pays about $4000.  We buy ten-year old cars and drive them into the dirt.  I buy a “new” car every 6, or 7 years when one of my clunkers finally falls apart.

In general, our clothes come from the Goodwill, the Thrift store, or Yard Sales.

My son had a photo-shoot not long ago.  A model paid him to take pictures of his shoes.  Upon inquiry, he discovered that the model had paid $15,000 for shoes over the course of several years.   Did you catch that?  $15,000 for shoes!  My son currently wears a brand new pair of designer shoes.   He found them at the Goodwill for $3.00.  I am currently wearing a brand new pair of shoes that my wife found at the Thrift Store.  They cost $12.00.

We still live in a condo.  It’s bigger, but it is still very small compared to the houses of our friends.

The point of all of this is simple.  We are not lucky.  We are frugal.  It turns out, when you don’t buy a new car every 4, or 5 years, and when you don’t spend $300,000 on a house, there may actually be enough money left over to fund your dreams.

If frugal is lucky, then, it’s true.  I am very lucky.


People need to be reminded…

In church last Sunday, the pastor quoted Samuel Johnson.

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. “

If you hang out on my blog at all, you know that I like DuoLingo.  I have explored many, many language sites, and have purchased many, many language programs.  When it comes to performance, DuoLingo beats most of them.  When it comes to price, DuoLingo beats all of them.

Finishing the Italian language “tree” on DuoLingo was one of my major goals last year.  I finished it on the last day of the year.

Finishing the Greek language “tree” is one of my major goals for 2017.  I am ready to go.

But, I have hit a snag.

It turns out, DuoLingo makes you review.  Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

I am done with the Italian language “tree” and yet, to maintain what I have learned, I still need to spend time each day practising Italian.  Because I am spending time each day reviewing Italian, I have not yet found the time to work my way through the Greek tree.

I am not complaining.  I know that, somehow, I will find the time.  On the contrary, I am very impressed that the DuoLingo developers thought to build review into their courses.

They must have known what Samuel Johnson expressed so long ago.

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed. ”


Classes resume today.

If you are in one of my online classes, and if you are wondering… yes.  Classes resume today.

There are no scheduled breaks between now and May.  We have a long road in front of us.

However, I may be adding unscheduled breaks.  My family and I are considering a return to Greece.  I will be returning to attend language school.  If we go, there will likely be breaks inserted as we relocate to Athens.