I'm a layperson, but I'm very serious about my practice, and want it to grow as much as possible. This year I started going to a little vihara in my area, financed by Sri Lankan lay families and inhabited by, I think, three or four monks (After more than a month of going there, I only just met a third monk this week!) The monks are shy, but they're all very, very friendly; they host open meditation sessions for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike once a week, and we've been encouraged to come by whenever we have questions. The abbot even gave me some brand-new robe cloth to give back as dāna at this year's Kathina ceremony, free of charge. They also provide literature and stuff for shrine rooms for absolutely nothing. A friend of mine is already very close to the abbot, and he's actually offered to teach both of us Pāḷi!
This seems like an ideal opportunity to pursue a student-teacher relationship with the abbot, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I suppose I could just ask him questions, but I'm so new to the practice that I'm not sure I necessarily know what to ask about, if that makes any sense. A semi-formal "curriculum" would be nice. I was thinking of asking him to help me study the Sutta-piṭaka, maybe one sutta at a time, or maybe meditation...but there are so many things I could try to address with him, and I have no idea where to start or how to go about it. i know this is a complicated request, but could anyone give me some advice on how to proceed? I'd really appreciate it!