Flowers and Korean dramas

I learnt two kinds of flowers in Chinese today: azaleas (杜鹃 dù juān) and camellias (茶花 chá huā). I don’t know much about flowers, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to Google them and see what they actually look like 😊

Azalea

It turns out that I’ve liked camellias all this time, I just didn’t realise that they were called camellias 😆 You learn something every day!

And I’ve almost finished The Heirs! I have two episodes left of my current Korean drama, and then I need to find a new one. But as I’ve mentioned before, I have a huuuge backlog, so I just need to choose one from that 😆 This series was good, I really enjoyed it. Barring a really baaad ending, I’d rank this drama right up there 👍 Korean dramas are the best, I tell you! 😆

Advertisements

For 5-year-olds or 9-year-olds?

I think I’ve mentioned this before in an earlier post, but there’s this bookstore here called The Commercial Press, and they have one store in Causeway Bay that is dedicated specifically for children. They have both Chinese and English books, but of course I only care about the former. Some (most?!) of the Chinese books are still too advanced for me, but there are more than enough books that are at my level (or just a bit beyond) to keep me occupied for aaages, so I’m always tempted to buy a bajillion books every time I walk in there – so I always try and avoid the temptation to walk in! 😂

But I couldn’t resist today. And of course I found something: a manga that seems to be right at my level – ie one that seems like I will be able to read without the use of a dictionary 👏 Where I know about 80-90% of the words. So you can imagine that this manga is probably aimed at 5-year-olds 😂 OK, perhaps a sight exaggeration, maybe 9-year-olds, then 😆

But having said that, I can’t even read the title! 🤣😔 But I could read “small princess”, and the drawings are really cute, and that was enough to win me over. OK, it must definitely be for 9-year-old girls, then 😂

I started reading it when I got home, and the main character is actually 12 years old! OK, so my Chinese is actually a little more advanced than I thought 👍 That’s freaking awesome! That’s basically end of primary school, right? Awe-some! So I’m starting to feel a little better again, after feeling like I’ve stagnated with my Chinese and thought that I was perpetually stuck at my current level. But 12 years old?! Wowww, happy with that! 😎

I’m still reading the Chinese version of The Little Prince, don’t worry, I haven’t given up on that (yet?!), but that’s more intensive studying rather than a casual read. I want something that is more for review, for cementing what I already know, and making sure I get some decent practice using material specifically for native speakers, and not just the dumbed down versions for language learners – even if the native speakers in this instance are still in primary school! 😂

I bought a manga while we were still in SG, actually (I got it from Takashimaya. I loved that store, I miss it so much 😔), but it has somehow gotten lost in the move, and I can no longer find it. I’m a bit disappointed with that, as I really wanted to finish that manga series. But that too was a bit more advanced, so it wasn’t as leisurely a read as I suspect the above one will be.

Really enjoying this immersion with “real life” materials! 😊

A pretty uneventful day

It was a pretty uneventful day. I just watched an episode of my new Korean drama, The Heirs, and then watched a few more YouTube clips from Asian Boss. I’m really enjoying their clips 😊

And then N and I sang to Eric Chou’s 《怎么了》(What’s Wrong). It’s a relatively easy song, so we’re both trying to learn the lyrics. He sings quite fast at some points, so it’s quite hard to keep up with him, but I’m getting there. I no longer need the pinyin to sing along to this song (pinyin is the romanised spelling for how to pronounce the Chinese characters), so that’s always a huge step.

I’ve been listening to so many Chinese songs lately, to improve my Chinese, that I have no idea what’s trending in the English speaking countries right now! It’s a bit insane, but I’m trying to immerse myself in all things Chinese, and people keep saying that singing to songs in your target language really helps. So it’s one way I’m trying to improve my Chinese 😊

The other thing that I’ve done is switch the language on my phone to Chinese 😱 Now this one is pretty insane, because everything is now in Chinese. I would look up the lyrics to an English song and Google now gives me the option to translate it into Chinese. And then the “translate” button in social media sites like FB and Instagram now gives me the translations in Chinese 😂 And anytime I Google something, Google now gives me the Chinese version of Wikipedia first. My Chinese isn’t good enough yet to just “casually” read the Chinese version of Wikipedia, so I always still just scroll down to find the English version, which is also always given, it’s just now further down the list. It’d be nice if I could eventually read the Chinese version one day! #polyglotgoals

A late start

N went to watch some football match with a few workmates last night at a sports bar in Wan Chai. Football fans are probably disgusted that I don’t know much about the match other than the fact that Liverpool was playing 😂 The match was starting at 3am local time, so you can only imagine what time he got home… Needless to say, the sun was already out 🙄

So that meant he slept in until the middle of the day, and by the time we got out of the house, it was around 2pm 😂 I decided to go and have yum cha in Causeway Bay, as I wanted to go to IKEA afterwards to get a new shower curtain. I did a search for yum cha restaurants in this area alone, and a bajillion results came up 😱

And this is just one area! You have an endless amount of choice for yum cha in this city. Yes, I know it is The Source, but the sheer numbers are craaaazyyy!

I went to the gym tonight, although I had to tear myself away from Asian Boss, this new channel that I stumbled across on YouTube. I really like their videos, they have fun ones as well as ones that deal with some pretty serious issues that’s being faced by some Asian countries. They focus mainly on North Asia, but they do also have a few videos from South East Asia and India as well. They’ve pulled me away from my usual polyglot videos and general “learn Chinese” ones, so that’s a pretty big feat 😆

Balance

In an earlier post, I talked about my constant attempt to find the right balance in my life. And today I came across this quote on the interweb: “The quest for balance is universal, but perfect balance is a myth.” And as you can imagine, I am absolutely in love with it. It could be my quote for the year. Heck, I’ll make it my quote for the year! 😆 It made me feel better about not getting the balance right, and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

I remembered Randi Zuckerberg’s book Pick Three: You Can Have It All (Just Not Every Day), and she proposes choosing three areas each day that you want to focus on, and her categories were work, sleep, family, friends and fitness. I’m going to try and bring this back into my daily routine, but change the categories to better suit my own personal focus areas, and keep track in my Bullet Journal to make sure I don’t focus too much on any one area at the expense of other areas. June is about to start, so I’ll incorporate it into my monthly tracking for the new month. How exciting! 😊

And I finally finished Nice Witch, my current Korean drama. I will have to decide on what my next drama will be, as I have a huge backlog to choose from! 😆 Maybe I’ll switch to a Chinese drama, to get some listening practice in… The only problem is that the Korean dramas are just sooo good, it’s hard to tear yourself away from them…! Maybe I should learn Korean instead… 😆 Well… Taiwan, Korea and Japan are my favourite countries in Asia (and Singapore, now, of course 😊), so it’s actually not a half-bad idea to add Korean to my Asian language repertoire… Well I have learnt the Korean alphabet, so it wouldn’t hurt to learn a few basics from here, right? 😉

  • Nah, languages is one area where I can’t take a balanced approach. I am dedicating as much time to Chinese as possible, so I can work on my proficiency in this language as quickly as possible. And I already have Japanese lined up after it, so if I do want to learn some Korean, it may have to slot in to third place. That is, if Spanish or French don’t call me with greater urgency before then…! 😆 #polyglotdream
  • Making the most of the current situation

    I continued studying my Chinese version of The Little Prince. I just finished chapter 4 – out of something like 27 😱 If I was reading the English version this entire time, I probably would’ve finished it by now, perhaps twice over 😅 So I’m hoping that all this effort will pay off in the long run! I’m waiting for (dreaming of) the day when I can read a book almost as comfortably as one in English. Not any book, but one that I would also be interested in reading in English. I wonder if this is even possible…. But I’m trying my best to get as close to that goal (dream) as possible 😊

    I watched a few more episodes of Nice Witch, my current Korean drama. I only have a few more episodes left, so I’m going to try and finish it off tomorrow – and then I can move on to a new series after that! Yeah! I feel like I’ve been watching this one for aaages, it took me forever to finish it. So as good as it was, particularly the second half, it’d be good to move on to the next drama 😊 It was starting to get a bit ridiculous when a 5-year old could read the news and would start talking about scandals about the workers’ union that she read about on her phone, but hey, there are always ridiculous things happening in these dramas, that’s part of their allure! 😂

    And N flew to Taipei tonight, he’s there for the next few days 😔 He’s travelling heaps this year, both for work and for karate. So more me time to watch Korean dramas! 😂 Just looking for the positives and making the most of the current situation… 😆

    YouTube

    ** Warning: Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones spoilers below **

    I was going through the recommended list of YouTube clips on my home page, and came across this: the official trailer for the upcoming Downton Abbey movie!! Omg I’m sooo excited! I loved this series, it was really good. And based on the trailer, it seems like the entire cast is back for the movie! Well, the ones who weren’t killed off before the series ended, that is – the number of people who left or died in that series rivalled the number in Game of Thrones 😂 I wasn’t expecting that at all when I first started watching the show. I’m used to casts staying on for the entire duration of a series, and maybe the odd person leaving every now and then. So it threw me off when I started watching Downton, and regular cast members just kept dropping off like flies! It keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure 😂

    YouTube has also been an endless resource for me for my language learning. I’ve been watching a ton of polyglot videos, as I’ve mentioned before, and I also watch YouTube clips on learning Chinese, as well as clips that have been posted by native Chinese speakers for other native speakers. This last category is really tough, as you can imagine, even if it’s just general banter, as native speakers, regardless of the language, always speak fast! But I persevere anyway, hoping that through osmosis, I am still picking up the odd word here and there. I mix it up between stuff for native speakers and stuff that’s been dumbed down for learners of the language, so I am still exposed to the natural speed of native speakers but also not totally discouraged, as I still listen to and learn from the ones that are more tailored to language learners, which also still has English translations. Like I said, Youtube is an endless resource, so I can watch either type whenever I want. Plus a lot of the clips have subtitles as well, so that helps me too, especially since my listening is still really poor. And best of all: it’s free! 😊