Productive day in a different way

I had a pretty shite sleep last night πŸ˜” N woke me up when he got home in the middle of the night, and I couldn’t get back to sleep after that, so I started reading one of my trading textbooks – at something like 4am. For an hour. OMG. I eventually fell back asleep, but then Kitty woke me up soon after with her scratching, for crying out loud. I sorted that out quickly, and from there, I finally got a few hours’ sleep in, and surprisingly stayed awake the rest of the day.

We received a letter from HSBC the other day, and there was no English translation. Normally most large organisations will have both English and Chinese, but for whatever reason, this letter was just in Chinese. So we went into a branch to get them to translate for us, and everything was all good πŸ˜… That’s all we wanted to hear, and off we went on our merry way 😊

We then went for yum cha somewhere near the branch. I seriously can’t enough of yum cha, it’s just the best, man! And we’re now at The Source, so yum cha is everywhere, at all price points and all varieties. We went to one today, Social Place, which apparently serves a more contemporary style, pushing the boundaries on what can be served at yum cha. It was quite good! Randomly choosing a restaurant from the OpenRice app can obviously be a bit hit and miss, and today was a good hit πŸ‘

We then went to Wan Chai Computer Center to get a new phone case and mouse, as both of mine are dying. The state of my phone case is now embarrassing, with bits of material flaking off it πŸ˜‚ Reminds me of the sad state of my old handbag and my old pair of shoes, both of which I replaced recently as well. I use things right up until they’re on their deathbed – and then use it some more πŸ˜‚ But I managed to find replacements for both today the Computer Centre, so I’m happy 😊

And then we spent the evening on fitness, with N going to karate and me to the gym.

Quite a productive day in a different way, this time πŸ‘

Life just goes a bit out of whack sometimes

I feel like I have turned learning Chinese into pretty much an obsession. Any time I’m talking to myself or to N or even Kitty, I try and say it in Chinese. I am also constantly looking up new words, and trying to remember ones that I’ve just recently learnt, to keep it in my memory. I want to build a solid vocab base, so I can follow what other people are saying, and also so I can better express myself in the language. So basically I’m trying to move up to the next level! I think I can now confidently survive as a tourist, knowing how to ask for immediate, basic things that I need, and I can generally follow what other people say if they dumb it down a bit for me. But now I want to get to the conversational level, where people don’t have to slow down for me, and I can talk relatively comfortably about general topics, and express my opinion on things. It’s a slowww process, but I think I’m getting there…! 😊

So today was bit Chinese heavy, and I didn’t really spend as much time on my other goals as I usually do. But that’s ok, sometimes life just goes a bit out of whack, but the keel eventually stabilises the boat πŸ˜‰

I also did help a few people with their English today, just giving back to the language exchange community 😊 I always feel good helping people with their English. And sometimes I do so simply because I’m just too mentally exhausted to do anything in Chinese! πŸ˜†

So motivating!

I’ve realised that a lot of people on the language exchange apps reply with “I’m fine” to my question “How are you?”. When English speakers say they’re “fine”, they’re actually not fine, and are being all passive aggressive about it! πŸ˜‚ So the first time I heard this reply to my question in SG, I was taken aback, actually, and l was wondering if I had done something wrong to upset him. But he didn’t have a sour look on his face, he just had a friendly tone and expression, so it took me a second or two to realise that this was just a standard reply. And soon I heard “I’m fine” often enough that it just became one of those quirks of the use of the language around the world. It still gives me a bit of a mental jolt, to be honest, and I probably still have some sort of micro expression that would reveal this involuntary reaction of mine whenever I hear this response, but I’m getting used to it 😊

I discovered this Facebook feed type feature in the HelloTalk language app today. You basically post whatever you feel like, much like in FB, except in this app, if you post something in your target language, native speakers can correct what you’ve written. It’s so good! I can do a bit of social media sharing, and learn at the same time πŸ‘

I have also started watching this Taiwanese show called 2εˆ†δΉ‹δΈ€εΌΊ, Half and Half. N discovered this show when he first started flying to HK for work last year, and I might’ve mentioned it once or twice before in this blog. They have a panel of all these westerners talking about their life experience either in Taiwan or in their home country – entirely in Chinese 😲 So when N told me about this show, I was so in awe, and was so motivated to be able to speak Chinese as well as these guys. Back then, though, I couldn’t follow anything that these guys were saying, as they were just speaking so damn fast, and I couldn’t read Chinese subtitles that fast either. So at the time, all I was really doing was admiring these guys’ ability to speak Chinese so fluently 😊

Fast forward six months later and I can now get the gist of what they’re talking about, if it’s on a topic that’s pretty basic (like their favourite food or their home etc), and it helps if they have a prop to show what they’re talking about. And now the subtitles further enhances my understanding, as I can now read that little bit faster as well. The jumble of noise is now becoming that little bit clearer, and I am starting to hear the individual sounds. I can pick up a lot more individual words now than I did before, and I can hear whole phrases if I read the subtitles as well. So hopefully over time my listening will get better and better🀞

The progress is seriously so motivating!

The focus continues – as does the dodginess

Ever since I started this detailed scheduling, I have been so mega focussed – and it’s so addictive! I don’t have to think about what I need to do next, I’ve planned it all out in my schedule and I just go ahead and do it. No umm-ing and ahh-ing, no putting things off, because I know that if I procrastinate on one thing on the list, the rest of the schedule will be out of whack, and I just don’t want to be in that position. So I just do. It is sooo good! 😊 I just feel like the more I focus, the closer I will get to my goals, and therefore the more motivated I become – and the cycle continues. It feeds on itself, it’s insane. I even thought about taking a bit of breather today, to give myself a bit of a reward, since I’ve done so much this past week. But this bizarro, focussed me pretty much said no to that, and so I just pushed on, in exactly the same way as I have been the last couple of days, as if my life depended on it. It’s all a bit insane at the moment! And so I’m fully taking advantage of it! πŸ˜†

And my learning Chinese is part of all of this. I’m learning at any given opportunity: I learn new words and phrases from various people on the language exchange apps; listen to native speakers speak to improve my listening (which is still by far my worst skill πŸ˜”); and I even try to talk to myself in Chinese – and even to Kitty! πŸ˜† I’m hoping that all this effort is helping me get to that next level with my Chinese…

There are still some guys on the language exchange apps, though, that are a little creepy. I know there could be a bit of a language miscommunication, but still, some people still freak me out a little. But like I’ve said before, you get all sorts on these apps, and you just have to filter through all the crap to find some nice people, and also people you get along with. And in the meantime, just focus on getting some more practice in! πŸ˜†

Balance

I decided to go and have cake at Lady M today, and noticed that they had osmanthus tea on their menu. I had never even heard of this tea before we moved to HK, and now I see it everywhere. It’s in sooo many things here. The funny thing for me is that I actually find the Chinese word for osmanthus (ζ‘‚θŠ± guΓ¬ huā) even with tones easier to say than ‘osmanthus’! It’s such a tongue twister! So today, I ordered and said pretty much this: β€œCan I have the pistachio mille crepe and can I try the ζ‘‚θŠ±θŒΆ?” πŸ˜‚ She had to repeat the tea to make sure she got my order right, as I probably threw her off by mixing English and Chinese 🀣

The fun and enjoyable time I had at Lady M was then soon wiped out by a shite trading session πŸ˜” You’d think I’d learn by now, but no, I keep repeating the same damn mistakes over and over πŸ˜’

I took out my frustration at the gym and had a pretty good session there tonight. I did a few Jive kicks, which were a real killer, but definitely something that I need to do more often to help boost my stamina. I should end each gym session with one song’s worth of Jive kicks. And then work my way up to two songs, then three songs, then who knows how many songs! πŸ˜†

I’ve actually been so focussed on my goals lately that I have barely had the chance to go on the usual social media sites, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc. I should make an effort to log in more often, and get the latest on what’s happening in the lives of my family and friends. I tend to be all or nothing when it comes to my goals, but I think a more balanced approach would be better and more sustainable over the longer-term. But with my detailed schedule now and achieving a good momentum with my goals, I feel like all the progress is just feeding itself and I just want more of it! πŸ˜†

Language exchange apps

I continued with my detailed schedule today, working in half hour blocks, and using Pomodoro to keep me from going overtime with any one particular task, and making sure I take short breaks along the way. I managed to stay on track, and pretty much did everything as per the schedule. This is working for me really well! Let’s see how long I can keep it up for…! πŸ’ͺ

I logged in to that Tandem app again today, that language exchange app. Someone asked if I could speak Chinese, and I replied back (in Chinese) with “I can say basic sentences, but I’d like to be able to say longer and harder sentences”. He then replied back and asked if I wrote my previous sentence myself or if I got the computer to help me. Why would I get the computer to help me?? What would be the point in that, since I am using the app to learn the language?? 🀨 And if I was going to use the computer to help me, I would have gotten it to translate exactly what I wanted to say, not just use the basic sentence structures that I already know! πŸ€ͺI took that as a compliment anyhow, since there mustn’t have been any problems with the grammar of my sentence for him to have said that – YEAH! πŸ‘ But you get all sorts on the app. I’ve blocked more people now too, I’m so sick of guys who are obviously just there to meet women πŸ™„ But I guess with all people, you click with certain people and not with others, so you just maintain chats with those who you do get along with.

The HelloTalk app is better on this front. The guys don’t come out and say stupid things like “you’re beautiful” as their opening line – but that’s because I have a photo of Kitty as my profile pic on that app πŸ˜† They won’t let you submit a photo on Tandem that doesn’t show your face. They say it’s more personal. Whatevs. I wonder if they’ll let me change it to some random person’s photo from one of the stock photo sites, then 😊

Moving in the right direction

I spent quite a fair bit of time learning Chinese today. Someone on the Tandem language exchange app recommended that I watch this Chinese sitcom called Home with Kids, as I was asking for some suggestions for tv shows to watch, something relatively easy to understand for intermediate learners like me. I watched the first episode on YouTube today. YouTube has Chinese subtitles for this show, but if I don’t look at them, I pick up next to nothing of what’s being said. But once I start reading them (or rather, skimming them and picking out known words as fast as I can, as people speak faster than I can read!), I can at least start to make out the general gist of what’s going on. I obviously still need subtitles, and apparently even Chinese subtitles are better than none at all! But I think my listening is definitely getting better. Words are starting to sound much clearer now, and I am even starting to get better with the tones. I now just need to get my brain to start turning these sounds into words to give them meaning, if that makes sense! And to continue to add to my vocab, as that will also help my brain know what certain sounds mean. The little bit of improvement in my listening skills that I saw in myself today has given me hope that my listening can indeed improve over time, with some more active practice! πŸ‘ It’s very motivating when you notice progress. It’s like with dancing: you don’t notice the improvement on a day-to-day basis, but then one day, a few months down the track, all of a sudden you have this “Woah, I can do that now?! Where did that come from??” moment, and you are just so pleased with yourself and what you’ve just accomplished 😊 No matter how small the improvement, you’re still moving in the right direction, and that’s so motivating for me.

We then spent the evening at a karate dinner. It was an annual dinner, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t look too shabby on such an evening, so N asked what the attire was, and he got the gist that it was “smart casual”. So we both wore jeans, a collared shirt and nice shoes. But the other guys, all being karate people, just rocked up in their training gear! Sneakers, training jacket and all. Maybe they just finished training, we don’t know πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ So we felt rather overdressed tonight! πŸ˜† But despite the language barrier (they spoke very little English and I know next to no Cantonese), I still had a fun evening.

A little bit of progress

We had quite a relaxing Saturday, despite a rather early start to my day – I got up at 7am 😲 That’s early for someone who’s not a morning person!

We went and had yum cha πŸ˜‹ and then went home via the vet to pick up some medicine for Kitty. We then just chillaxed at home for a while before N went to karate, while I went to the gym. I did some more samba to that Dura song that I’m obsessed with at the moment. I’m going to milk this song for as long as I can, as it’s apparently making me practise samba a whole lot more than I otherwise would! πŸ˜‚

And I also spent some time on Tandem, that language exchange app. I probably spent more time chatting in English than in Chinese today, as I was just too tired to focus for too long in Chinese. I helped people with their English instead 😊

So a bit of progress on a few of my goals today, so I’m happy with that 😊

A successful day

So it seems like you can feel the humidity quite a fair bit in this city… It’s only just the start of spring, and yet I can already feel the humidity, interesting… I think N is not going to enjoy the other three seasons of the year, then. He hated the SG weather, I don’t think he ever got used to it, and now we may effectively be going back to SG type weather…! πŸ˜†

He came back from Taipei today, and so of course the aircon has been on in the house ever since he arrived πŸ˜† It’s going to be the same as SG on this front, I am guessing. I, on the other hand, am perfectly comfortable without the aircon, so of course now that it’s on, I have to wear a jumper around the house. Much like our routine in SG. At least from a weather perspective, it’s almost as if we never left! YEAH! πŸ‘

And my tweaked schedule for today worked amazingly. I ticked off almost everything that I wanted to do today, in terms of the tasks that are helping me reach my various goals. It was sooo good. It was perhaps the most productive day I have had in a long time. So I will definitely be bringing this schedule idea into next week too πŸ‘

I came across this song somehow called Dura, by Daddy Yankee, and it is my song of the year so far – I’m in love with it! I had it on repeat at the gym today. I was going to use the elliptical machine as warm-up, as I usually do, and turned on some music to keep me company. I decided to listen to Dura, and as soon as it came on, I was like, “stuff the elliptical, let’s do some samba!!” πŸ’ƒπŸ» And off I went, spending the next half an hour working on different parts of our samba routine, with this song on repeat the entire time πŸ˜† I have forgotten just how exciting dancing can be when I find the right music. It brings me into a whole different world 😌

At this point in time, this song is the answer to Q16 for my future 2019 year in review 😊 I will have to start my draft for the year, before I forget any answers that I can already write down now. It’ll be a better representation for my year if I periodically add to it throughout the year anyhow, rather than trying to rack my brain at the end of the year, trying desperately to remember what happened in the preceding twelve months. So one question down, 34 more to go… 😳

Spring is in the air

Spring now feels like it’s finally here! I am so excited! πŸ‘ I have been waiting for months now – well, ever since we arrived, since we moved to Hong Kong pretty much at the start of winter πŸ₯Ά I didn’t even need a cardigan today, sooo good! Not quite shorts weather yet for me, but it’ll come soon enough, I know it 😊

So I wrote a draft of my detailed schedule for the day, as I mentioned yesterday. I organised my day in 30min blocks, alternating between mentally draining stuff and tasks that are less so. And I used a Pomodoro timer to help me stay within those 30min blocks. It worked quite well, actually. What I need to tweak though is the amount of time it takes me to do things. I underestimated the time it took to finish a few things, which threw me out a little, so I didn’t get to stick to the schedule as well as I had originally planned. But that’s ok, it was my first attempt at putting this detailed schedule together, and I would’ve been surprised if there were no issues with it. So I’ll tweak it a bit tomorrow and allow myself some more time to work on certain things that actually take longer to do than I thought. But it was very exciting to have a first attempt today regardless 😊

And I started a new Korean drama today: Nice Witch. It’s ok, pretty average run-of-the-mill drama so far, but that’s ok. They can’t all be total amazeballs πŸ˜‰ But maybe it’s time to watch one that IS mind-blowingly awesome. I just have to find one, that’s all!