Friends, language learning and generally just having fun

We met up with a friend who’s here in HK for the weekend. We took her to yum cha, of course 😊 She apparently just turned 21! I didn’t realise she was so young. I made a comment saying that we are probably as old as her parents, which she agreed with πŸ˜‚ So not sure why she likes hanging out with us oldies. I guess dancing just brings everyone together, regardless of age 😊

N went to karate, while I practised some more of my Chinese. I’ve been really focusing on my speaking and listening, to get it up to the same level as my reading and writing. I don’t want to get to a point where I can read a Chinese novel, and still not be able to hold a basic conversation! I’m still learning new words, so I’m automatically still working on my reading, but it’s just not where my focus is right now. I just want to speak more and listen more at this stage, and be as exposed to the spoken language as much as I can.

YouTube has been an absolute goldmine, a seemingly endless resource for all things related to improving these very skills. There is a ton of stuff specifically for my level, and then of course there’s more stuff that’s aimed at native speakers. I’m obviously just looking for Chinese resources, but I’m sure you could find almost any other language on there. It’s pretty crazy.

And then in the evening, we watched an episode of The Exorcist’s Meter, our current Cantonese drama. We’re getting close to the end, so we’ll have to find a new one soon! 😊

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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˜†

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… 😳

Resumption

I finally got my hair cut today. I went to a new hair salon, I thought I’d try a different one. I liked the ambience at this one, and I liked the hairdresser who cut my hair πŸ’‡β€β™€οΈ Plus he said that since I’m growing my hair out (this is my current plan), I don’t have to return as regularly as I would if I was keeping my hair short. The longer (in between haircuts) the better”, he said. YEAH! I definitely like this guy πŸ˜† I’m not a fan of going to the hairdresser, so hearing this is absolutely wonderful 😊

I went to the gym tonight. I resumed doing some basics on the treadmill. And on the day that I decide to resume my basics, I had someone running on the treadmill next to mine πŸ˜‚ I wonder what people think when they see the weird things that I do on the treadmill… Basically I’m doing what these guys are doing in the first ten seconds of this video, but I just do it for the entire length of a song πŸ˜‚ I haven’t done my basics in so long that my leg muscles are now sooo tired! I am clearly out of shape πŸ˜” We definitely have to get back into dancing soon! Or at least head down to the gym much more often than I currently am!

And then after dinner, N and I watched the first episode of a Hong Kong drama, The Exorcist’s Meter. It has a supernatural theme running through it, greeeat… I really needed to watch a scary-ass episode just before N flies out to Japan tomorrow! Great timing, there! Good work, 99 πŸ˜’ I’ll have to more than make up for it while he’s in Japan – watch more Korean dramas, perhaps… πŸ˜‰

And I finally got a taste of spring today πŸ‘ Last time I got this taste was weeks ago.

It was a good day 😊

2019 is all sorted!

N’s determination in improving his Mandarin is rubbing off on me too, which is great πŸ‘ I logged into Tandem again today, that language exchange app, making a conscious effort to talk more, which is helping me reach my short-term goal for Chinese: basically to improve my speaking and listening! Chinese speakers in the app are always very impressed with the limited amount of Chinese that I do speak, but I need to move on from my basic sentences and start speaking longer and more complex ones. They’re hard, and I sound so stunted and slow when I hear back what I just said. But then I remember how slow and stunted they sound when they’re speaking in English, yet I still have the patience to listen to them speak and I still also want to help them improve. So I hope they feel the same way about me fumbling my way through their native language! πŸ˜† So at the moment, we’re pretty much learning Chinese all throughout the day. But just like with dancing, the improvement is so incremental that you don’t even notice anything on a day-to-day basis, but when we look back after a few months, that’s when you notice just how far you’ve come. So I’d like to see how far my Chinese can go by, say, June, halfway through the year 😊 Which, really, isn’t all that far away – especially when I remember just how fast the first two months of the year came and went! 😱

I continued my Marvel journey today: Ant-Man was next on my list. I actually enjoyed this one! There was more of a story, and quite a fair bit of humour.

But the highlight of my day was N telling me about this website: icdrama.to. It seems to be like a Netflix for Asian dramas, O-M-G!! WHY DIDN’T HE TELL ME ABOUT THIS SITE BEFORE?!?? πŸ™„πŸ™„

OK, so I do vaguely recall him telling me about this site back when we first moved to SG – but that was before I went all k-drama crazy, so I would’ve barely been interested back then. But now… I’m in K-DRAMA HEAVEN!! 🀣🀣 I think this whole year is going to be directed at three things: my trading πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’»; my Chinese πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³; and now, Korean dramas πŸ‡°πŸ‡·! 2019 is all sorted! πŸ₯³