Do you remember my other blog that I started sometime last year? Well I sorta abandoned it when we moved to HK, while we were just settling into this city. Anyway, I’m thinking of actually deleting it and starting a brand new one: writing about my language journey as I learn Mandarin. And then hopefully other languages in the future as I continue on this lifelong journey. I’m really enjoying the journey, and I think it would be nice to have a written record of it, to see the frustrations as well as the triumphs, and to share with others on a similar journey the numerous resources that I’ve come across that have helped me (or still helping me) improve my Mandarin. Anyway, it’s just an idea at the moment, but one that is certainly piquing my interest 😊
We had bak kut teh for dinner tonight! 😋 N bought a few bak kut teh packet mixes from the supermarket in SG while he was there for work last week. Ah SG, how I miss you 😔
And then we watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones (season 8 episode 3) while we ate our bak kut teh. Stressful episode! But a damn good one. I don’t know how many more episodes are left, surely they’re close to wrapping up the series? I am thinking of making my way through the books now, surely they’re just as good as the tv series, if not better?? It’s not quite the genre that I like to read, so I’m not sure how I’ll find them. Maybe I’ll give the first book a go anyway. I’ll let you know 😊
Little Miss woke me up at around 7am 😒 Our usual morning routine is after giving her breakfast, we go sit in the study together until she gets bored with me and hops off my chair and sleeps somewhere else in the room. So even though I was half-asleep this morning, I knew she’d want to do the same thing this morning. She couldn’t care less that it was a Sunday 😆 So I sat in the study just surfing the net, trying to stay awake, to keep her company. She’s like a baby sometimes, I tell you! 👶🏻
So at around 9am, she finally let me head back to bed to get a bit more sleep.
And the next time I woke up, it was 12 noon! 😲 Wahhh! So I scrambled to get ready, so that we could go have our usual weekend yum cha brunch before they all close on us so they can prepare for their dinner service.
After brunch, we just headed back home and N just picked up his gear and headed to karate. I went down to a nearby laundromat to wash one of our bath mats, as our own washing machine doesn’t like it when we wash it in ours 🤪 It always gives us an error message whenever we try to wash it at home. And Kitty has thrown up on it, so it definitely needed a wash. The washing machine at the laundromat is industrial size in comparison to ours, so the lone mat looked tiny inside it. I should’ve taken a photo. This one could definitely handle this teeny mat! 😂
I then just went home and watched another episode of Love O2O, a Chinese drama that I initially started watching just for listening practice, but now I’m actually getting into it 😊 Not my favourite Chinese drama, and it doesn’t even come close to any of my favourite Korean ones (they reign supreme in this world, I tell you 😆), but it’s not too bad. The episodes are getting better as the series goes on 👍
It was a fun Sunday, despite the rather disrupted start to the day!
I found yet another good resource on YouTube, Iris Song, for learning Chinese. One of her clips has her reading a short passage called Burn the Midnight Oil, which I found really useful. So I copied the text from her blog and wrote it out in my own notebook, and actually studied the short passage, taking down notes, translating it, learning new words and grammar structures, then listening to her say it over and over and over again, repeating it with her most of the time, both looking at the text and without, seeing just how much I can actually hear without my usual crutch.
It took me way longer than I expected it to: I actually ended up spending the entire afternoon working on this 😲 Not that it felt torturous or anything, it was actually quite fun, believe it or not 🤓 Plus N wasn’t back from SG yet (I was tracking his flight while I was studying the above passage), and it was miserable outside, so it was the best type of day to study anyway 😊
He made it home safely (and early! His plane was about 45min ahead of schedule!) and we ended up just watching the first two episodes of the new season of Game of Thrones, while having fish’n’chips for dinner. They were goood, as per usual – both GoT and the fish’n’chips! 👍 😄
It was my first productive day all week. I got a ton of things done, and the only area that was left untouched was really just fitness, as I don’t want to do anything too strenuous while I’m trying to get over this stupid cold. So it was a nice way to end the work week! 👍
I then started watching this TEDx Talk on YouTube (my new best friend, if you recall my post from yesterday) – which is almost entirely in Chinese!! It has subtitles, though – but that is also in Chinese! English subtitles is obviously the best, but Chinese subtitles is the next best thing, as my listening is still really really bad. My reading isn’t that great either, but it’s way better than my listening, and if the dialogue is simple enough, I can get the general gist of what they’re talking about.
I got about halfway through the talk, and was pleasantly surprised that I somehow magically fumbled my way through what she was saying! It was nowhere near perfect comprehension, but I probably got about half of what she was saying, if not more. And that is freaking good for me! I’m still using subtitles as my crutch – and it’s a pretty damn big crutch, if I’m being honest – but that’s ok, over time, I shouldn’t have to use it as much, if at all. Hopefully everything is coming together, piece by piece, to eventually create this big huge web of Chinese language “stuff”, which I can just pick and choose from at my leisure. Wouldn’t that be nice 😊
So after this rather promising (and completely unexpected) experience, I’m even more motivated now to continue working on my listening!
As expected, since it always happens this way, my cold has now gotten worse. Isn’t that great. I still managed to get a few things done this morning, at least, and then I slept for most of the afternoon. Argh, what is it with me and sickness?!? 😒 It’s sorta good that N is in SG this week for work (did I mention that already?), so he doesn’t catch it off me.
And then I just watched random stuff on YouTube, trying to improve my listening, and also practising my speaking, repeating sentences to myself. Some clips also have subtitles, so I try and say things along with them. I find listening the hardest, because a native speaker can say things in however way they want, they’re not going to restrict their choice of words to whatever is in your textbook. Plus people have all different accents, and some accents are harder to understand than others. Then you have speed to contend with: some people speak so damn fast! So there’s a ton of variables when it comes to listening. Speaking isn’t tooo bad, as I seem to have this ability to get my message across with the limited amount of words and sentence structures that I know. But I still need to grow my vocab, as I think that’s part of the reason why I find listening so hard. Plus it’s just my lack of exposure to the spoken language. So YouTube is currently my best friend! 😄 There is sooo much stuff on there, there is no way I will run out of things to watch!
I still felt pretty shite today, and so I ended up sleeping for most of it. But it paid off, and I’m feeling somewhat better now.
And in the evening, I just watched a few more YouTube clips that polyglots have posted. I came across Lindie Botes today, and came across this clip of her time in SG. It made me miss that country so much! 😔
She absolutely LOVES Korean, and she also seems to gravitate towards various Asian languages. And what I like about her the most out of all the other polyglots I’ve come across on YouTube so far is that she’s learning my top three Asian languages: Chinese, Korean and Japanese. She’s even made clips about learning all three, which is sooo inspiring! She’s most advanced in Korean, which – despite all the fantabulous dramas that they make – is actually the language I’m least interested in out of the three! 😆 But she says Japanese and Korean are so close that it sounds like you’d sorta get a 2-for-1 package deal if you learn these two languages 😂 So I may consider picking up Korean later on down the track when I get a better handle on the first two 😃
I woke up with a bit of a sore throat this morning, and it never got any better as the day went on. I think perhaps the aircon was a bit too cold for me last night 🥶 So I just felt a bit under the weather all day. Hopefully I can shake it off tomorrow…
The heat and humidity have kicked in now, it seems. It’s starting to feel more like SG, but a little cooler, as technically it is still spring 😄 I have put away all my cold weather clothes, and my summer clothes are now all out and ready to be worn. Yeah! Bring it on!
The only thing about summer that is freaking me out a bit is this typhoon business in HK. I know the locals are used to it, but I am SO NOT, and just the word itself stresses me out a little. I was here once when they announced a typhoon, and I was also in Taipei once when a typhoon warning was announced there too, and neither of them turned out to be too bad – at least where I was! So hopefully that remains the case… 🤞 I remember shops and hotels in Taipei were taping up their windows the night before the typhoon, laying down sandbags across the bottom of their doors, to minimise any water damage. These guys know how to prepare. They must, as typhoons seem to occur so often in this part of Asia. Hopefully during our time here, nothing major happens…!🤞🤞