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! πŸ˜‚

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 πŸ‘ Where I know about 80-90% of the words. So you can imagine that this manga is probably aimed at 5-year-olds πŸ˜‚ OK, perhaps a sight exaggeration, maybe 9-year-olds, then πŸ˜†

But having said that, I can’t even read the title! πŸ€£πŸ˜” 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 πŸ˜‚

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 πŸ‘ 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! πŸ˜‚

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 πŸ˜”), 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! 😊

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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! πŸ˜† 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! πŸ˜† 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… πŸ˜† 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? πŸ˜‰

  • 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…! πŸ˜† #polyglotdream
  • Taobao

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a shopper. I don’t like to shop, and I am for sure an under-buyer, a term that Gretchen Rubin coined for people who only tend to buy things when they need it. And even then, sometimes I still won’t buy it, even when I know I need it! It can be very frustrating πŸ˜‚

    Anyway, there’s this Chinese version of Amazon called Taobao, which I heard about when we first moved to Singapore. I had friends who swore by it. I’ve checked it out a few times, but each time I’ve gone in, I was overwhelmed by all the Chinese on the site, and so never really bothered checking out the site in any more detail than this initial cursory glance.

    Today, though, I stumbled across this blog post called The Foreigner’s Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Taobao, and it’s made me want to revisit the Taobao site and see how much of the site I can now understand, without having to use the translate function. Plus their app only has Chinese, and if I am going to browse the site, I’d be more than likely to be browsing on my phone anyway.

    It turns out that I can actually somewhat navigate my way around! 😱 I think I know enough characters now that even though I may not necessarily know a word, I can get the gist of its meaning from the characters that it is made up of. And if I want to learn new words, I have plenty to choose from just on this site alone. And getting a bargain or two is enough incentive for me to learn some new words! πŸ˜‚ Plus, now that we’re in Hong Kong, we’re even closer to the mainland, so deliveries should only take a few days. So I’ll let you know when I make my first purchase, as that will surely be a momentous occasion! πŸ˜†

    Finding that right balance

    I put together our new budget for HK today. Ugh, this city is so expensive 😩 I thought SG was bad, I think it’s worse here πŸ˜” Nonetheless, I’m going to make the most of our time here, and try and enjoy it as much as I can. We may not achieve our financial goals while we’re here, but we’ll do our darndest to get close πŸ’΅

    I went to the gym today and apparently worked my arms to buggery, they are now sooo tired and sore! I can barely lift them πŸ˜‚πŸ’ͺ That’s a good sign πŸ‘

    I didn’t spend much time on my Chinese today, because I spent so much time on our budget and finance stuff that there wasn’t much time (or energy!) left over for study. I’ll try and do more tomorrow to make up for it 😊

    It’s always hard finding that right balance of how much time to spend across my different goals. I’ve been dedicating a whole ton of time on my language journey lately, and today I just rejigged it a little 😊 I think what I tend to do is focus on one particular area and end up spending way too much time on that, at the expense of other areas of my life. I need more balance! βš–οΈ

    New ideas

    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! πŸ˜‹ 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 πŸ˜”

    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 😊

    Another polyglot

    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! πŸ˜”

    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! πŸ˜† 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 πŸ˜‚ So I may consider picking up Korean later on down the track when I get a better handle on the first two πŸ˜ƒ

    Typhoon season

    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 πŸ₯Ά 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 πŸ˜„ 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…!🀞🀞