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  1. After living in the U.S. for almost 10 years without regularly conversing in English, I think I'm going to make some changes. I've always been self-conscious of my accent and my pronunciation, so I conveniently avoided speaking in English unless absolutely necessary. (When in doubt, I sent a text message or an e-mail instead of returning a phone call.) As a result? I don't speak English as well as I should.

    So today, I got myself a tape recorder and a book of monologues. My goal is to read out loud at least one monologue each day until I like the way my reading sounds on tape. I'm not sure where I'm supposed to do this without making an idiot out of myself, though. I'd try the backyard, but my neighbors would be able to hear me. I'd try public places, but I'm not sure if I don't care what other people think of me all that much...