Back to normality after Easter

Our Easter / Qing Ming extra-long weekend is over ๐Ÿ˜” We’re back to reality. I was still really tired this morning, I could barely concentrate on anything ๐Ÿ˜” But the caffeine eventually kicked in, and I ended up having quite a productive afternoon – woohoo! I was actually resigned to having an unproductive day, but it worked out better than I expected ๐Ÿ‘

I also had my Chinese lesson today, which also turned out to be better than I expected. We had a bit of a grammar lesson today: there is this one noun / adjective / adverb that I can’t seem to get my head around because there is no equivalent in English. Yes, it can be a noun, adjective OR adverb, which just adds to the WTF-ness of how to use this word ๐Ÿคฃ The use of it as a noun is OK – it’s ‘just’ a noun – but the feeling that it gives if you’re using it as an adjective or as an adverb actually differs ๐Ÿคช Which is why I never use it because I never know which feeling I’m conveying in any given sentence! ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ After today’s lesson, I think I understand the theory now, so maybe I can start trying to use it in our lessons and see if I’m actually applying the theory correctly! But yeah, it’s tough learning a foreign language as an adult. But totally fun! ๐Ÿ˜Š

A possible new purchase and my language analogy

I spoke to my mum briefly today. Apparently they’re thinking of buying a new TV! She’s been wanting to buy a new TV for a while now, and I think they found a good deal recently. Good on them. They’re both retired now, and they’ve been spending a lot of time at home, thanks to the ๐Ÿฆ  ๐Ÿ˜’ So they’ll get good value out of the new TV. I’m sure they’re going to have a ton of questions about setting it up, though. And I’ve whinged here before about how much fun it is setting up technology via a video call… ๐Ÿ˜’

And I had my Chinese lesson today. It was a tough one: I heard about the H&M debacle in China from my teacher today. It was the first time I’d heard about the incident, so it was very hard to understand what happened when hearing about it in Chinese! But I just read a news article on it – in English ๐Ÿ˜‚ – and I basically understood the general gist of the story during my lesson today, woohoo! So I learnt a ton of new words as a result of today’s lesson ๐Ÿ‘

But I’m now learning words that are not very common (e.g. ‘boycott’!), so they’re getting harder and harder to remember. Not to mention the sheer number of words that I’ve learnt, and trying to keep as much of them in my memory. I see it as sorta like having a fishing net, with all the words being kept within this language fishing net, if you will. And regular practice shrinks the size of the holes in the fishing net, allowing fewer and fewer words to fall out of the net. And practice also makes the size of the ‘fish’ (words and phrases) bigger and bigger, making them easier to pull out when you need them. And the number of ‘fish’ in my net is also growing, and so more fish are also falling out, as a result of the additional pressure put on the net.

Ah, the fun of learning a foreign language! ๐Ÿ˜‚

More delights

I have been able to type for most of my life. I probably learnt how to type when I was around 12. So I can actually type without really thinking about where my fingers need to go. I can close my eyes, say the words in my head, and my fingers will somehow know where to go. If anything, it’s actually faster if I close my eyes, because I don’t have the screen as a distraction. I then start visualising where my fingers are moving on the keyboard hahaha I don’t know what’s better, visualising it or actually seeing the words being typed on the screen. How are my fingers doing that?? And it’s not like I’m going “OK, now move your finger to the F and now to the I, then the N, then Gโ€ฆ” etc etc. I can be thinking about something else, like how sunny it is today, and somehow my fingers will still find the right letters. It’s really odd! Seriously, how did I learn to do that?!? This is my delight for the day ๐Ÿ˜Š

I had my Chinese lesson today. We talked about:

  • How the appointments for the German vaccine have been cancelled here because it has been found that the vials were not sealed properly ๐Ÿ˜’
  • How our landlord is asking us to pay his legal fees without even consulting us beforehand; and
  • The Mr Tickle book that I borrowed from the library recently – in Chinese ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Obviously, my version in Chinese didn’t come out as nicely as this ๐Ÿคฃ It was more like:

  • The small bottles from the German company were bad, so the government cancelled our appointment;
  • The person who owns this house is asking us to pay his lawyer’s fees;
  • I borrowed this book from the library.

We then went on to discuss each point in turn, focussing mainly on the first two points. So you can imagine just how difficult this lesson was! But itโ€™s all about communication, not perfect grammar, and I got my message across, thatโ€™s the main thing. Sure, itโ€™d be nice if I had perfect grammar, of course, but Iโ€™m not studying every single day for hours on end. So given the limited amount of time that I do spend studying the language, Iโ€™m quite happy with my progress! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Maybe we can talk about the Mr Tickle book next week. Hopefully I would have finished it by then!

Lots of closures – and reading practice!

Our favourite yum cha place in HK is currently closed because the building that itโ€™s in is currently effectively being used as a COVID vaccination centre. But apparently they have another branch one suburb / district away, so we decided to go find that other restaurant and try it out.

But once we found it, we quickly realise that that too is closed ๐Ÿ˜” Not sure why this other venue is currently closed, but regardless the reason, we still didnโ€™t have a yum cha place to go to ๐Ÿ˜” N then remembered another place nearby that we had been to once or twice before, so we made our way there.

Turns out that place is closed too! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ Is everything closed because of COVID? The protests the year before? A combination of both factors?? Regardless, itโ€™s all quite sad ๐Ÿ˜”

We finally stumbled upon another restaurant and decided to try that. It actually turned out to be OK, good enough for us to return to ๐Ÿ˜… All our walking around eventually paid off ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

We then went to the library and borrowed a few books. N found the Mr Men and Little Miss books in Chinese! Omg I had to borrow one and work my way through them. I really like these books, and I know theyโ€™ll be good books to read in a foreign language ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Turns out I was right. It probably took me about an hour to read a third of Mr Tickle ๐Ÿ˜‚ OMG how painful, knowing I could read the entire book in less than five minutes if it was in English. But every little bit counts, and Iโ€™m determined to finish it – and every other book in the series! They donโ€™t have all of the books in Chinese, maybe just a quarter of them, but thatโ€™ll be plenty for me to work my way through ๐Ÿ˜†

And then in the evening, we watched another movie: Snowpiercer. There were no English subtitles available, so when the Korean actors were speaking, we had no idea what they were saying. But they had Chinese subtitles ๐Ÿคช I was ready to take this as a learning opportunity and test my Chinese reading skills, but N just used the camera in Google Translate for quick and dirty translations! ๐Ÿ˜‚ But when I could read the Chinese, I used the Google Translate translation as confirmation (or otherwise) of my own attempt.

Lots of Chinese reading practice for me today! I have to recount todayโ€™s events in my next lesson – in Chinese ๐Ÿ˜ฑ Itโ€™ll be speaking practice that day! ๐Ÿ˜†

Mental health

Iโ€™ve been wondering if my poor sleep this week has been because Iโ€™ve been having wine with my dinner ๐Ÿท I might finish this bottle and then not buy another one for a while, and see how my sleep is when my dinner is wine-free.

Iโ€™ve been having weird dreams, and so I donโ€™t always feel refreshed when I wake up in the morning. And then I spend the day feeling like I have a bit of a fog surrounding my brain ๐Ÿ˜”

But despite this, I still managed to finish editing my next video, and I didnโ€™t completely lose focus during my Chinese lesson! ๐Ÿ˜† I couldnโ€™t remember words, but thatโ€™s nothing new because I. Donโ€™t. Practise!! ๐Ÿ™„

I also spoke to my mum for a little while. It sounds like my dadโ€™s mental acuity is declining ๐Ÿ˜” And itโ€™s obviously affecting her, as she spends a lot of time with him. I hope their GP can give some insight into the situation and give my mum some additional support or resources to help her with this ๐Ÿคž

Going downhill…

I started the day feeling pretty good, but then as the day continued, I gradually felt worse and worse. My battery was being drained really quickly, and by mid-afternoon, I was exhausted ๐Ÿ˜” I could barely concentrate, and I struggled to understand what my teacher was saying during my Chinese lesson. I think I repeated “Can you please say that again?” for virtually every sentence she uttered. During the lesson, I actually muttered in Chinese, “Why is my listening so bad today?!” And I only just realised why, as I’m writing this! ๐Ÿ˜† Being physically exhausted doesn’t exactly help your mental ability.

I really hope I’m not coming down with anything. I’ve been so good lately! ๐Ÿคž

New routines and language goals

I got up mega early again this morning. Not as early as yesterday, but earlier than usual. It’s really nice getting up so early! I get so much more done in the morning, and I feel so much more productive ๐Ÿ‘ The problem with this, though, is that because I am naturally a night owl, it is VERY easy for me to burn the candle at both ends ๐Ÿ˜” So I really have to try not to do that. It’s ok to do it every now and then, but it’s just not sustainable. I do try and take it easy in the afternoon now. Before, I’d be working frantically to get stuff done because I was running out of time; now, because I did so much in the morning, I don’t really need to stress out as much in the afternoon. So maybe these new hours will work for me after all?? But first, let’s see if I can continue to get up early! ๐Ÿ˜œ

We started watching My Hero Academia recently. And now we’re watching one episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and then one episode of My Hero Academia to wind down for the evening ๐Ÿ˜Š I feel like I need to study it to get some Japanese language study in. It feels like such a waste if I don’t do that. I’ve actually been reviewing a lot more of my Japanese Anki flashcards lately, surprisingly, so it feels like I should back that up with some listening practice as well. And given how crap my Chinese listening skills are, chances are my Japanese listening skills are going to be just as bad!

But Jap has the added advantage of a lot of words being much more ingrained in me. I studied it in high school, which was a bajillion years ago now, but a lot of the vocab is still in my long-term memory, and hearing certain words is almost the same as hearing English. Almost ๐Ÿ˜œ I don’t think my Chinese will ever get to that same level. But ultimately, I would love to be conversational in both languages. That is my long-term goal. I’m sure it’ll be an uphill battle the older I get, but I’m going to try my darndest to achieve it ๐Ÿ’ช

Changes in my daily routine

I got up at ridiculous oโ€™clock with N this morning. Heโ€™s been going to the gym before work, and normally, I just go back to sleep once he leaves. But today, I was actually quite awake, and so I just got up. I didnโ€™t feel too bad throughout the day, but I did have more caffeine than I normally would on a typical day ๐Ÿ˜ณ Hopefully the caffeine wonโ€™t keep me up tonight because Iโ€™d like a good nightโ€™s sleep for the busy day that I have tomorrow! ๐Ÿคž

I had my Chinese lesson today, and it actually wasnโ€™t too bad! I didnโ€™t stress out as much as I normally would, which allowed me to understand more of what she said. But my general problem is my lack of speaking and listening practice. I need to do more! Watch a little bit of a TV show or YouTube video each day. I need to incorporate that into my day somehow. Iโ€™ve made so many positive changes into my daily routine now, surely I can figure out how to incorporate this one thing??

Here are the new changes Iโ€™ve made recently:

  • I’ve started to review my Anki flashcards first thing in the morning, as soon as I wake up. It’s virtually the first thing I do once I wake up;
  • I’ve been doing my splits stretches on a daily basis, except on my one rest day a week;
  • I’ve been listening to podcasts in the morning while I’m getting changed;
  • I’ve been listening to an audiobook while getting ready for bed in the evenings.

๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

How awesome is that?!? And I only introduced all of these new habits recently, possibly just in the last month. That’s pretty damn good! So surely I can figure out how to incorporate listening to a TV show or YouTube video in one of my target languages into my day?? ๐Ÿค”

After listing that out, I’m quite proud of my effort! Well done, me! ๐Ÿ˜ It’s amazing just how much you can achieve just by pairing activities today:

  • Anki flashcards – paired with getting up first thing in the morning;
  • Podcasts – paired with getting ready each day;
  • Audiobooks – paired with getting for bed.

Can I pair this TV show or YouTube video with something? Or maybe I can just set another 30-day challenge for myself? I just have to try and see what works for me.

The days leading up to Chinese New Year

My Chinese lesson was cancelled today. My teacher is spending the Chinese New Year holiday week over at her parents’ place, which I think is a fair drive from her place. I think her intention was to ring me from her parents’ place, but she must’ve been running late for whatever reason. Plus she sounded a little flustered when she rang me to cancel the lesson, so maybe she also felt bad that she had to cancel. And she also doesn’t get paid for the lesson, so she probably isn’t very happy with that either.

So despite getting back those 45 minutes, it still took me foreverrr to finish my next YouTube video. Sighhh… I really need to improve my editing process. It still takes me so long to finish editing just one video ๐Ÿ˜” And here I am thinking of increasing that to 2 videos per week. Pffft! Maybe if I wanted to do YouTube full time and not have anything else in my life! Ooo, doing YouTube full time. That’s a thought. If it paid me enough, then sure, I’d love to! And there are a ton of people who are full-time YouTubers, so why not? ๐Ÿ˜Š

And I’ve also started packing for our staycation ๐Ÿ‘ I plan on heading out to the hotel tomorrow afternoon, so I’d like to have most of my stuff packed tonight so I don’t have to worry too much tomorrow. And I still have to bring my laptop and associated accessories because I’m still working tomorrow. But after tomorrow, we have a few days to relax in the hotel – and for me to do some more filming. Happy days ๐Ÿ˜Š

Using movies to learn foreign languages

N went over to a mate’s place for drinks tonight, so I just started watching Nausicaรค of the Valley of the Wind. It was made before Studio Ghibli was founded (the film studio that also made Spirited Away and Totoro), but it’s still usually lumped as one of their films. Its director was one of the cofounders of Studio Ghibli, and they later purchased that studio where he made this film. So it’s usually seen as a Studio Ghibli film since it has such strong ties to Studio Ghibli.

Anyway, I started watching it, but it started getting quite late, so I’ll have to come back to it another time. We’re going to a friend’s place tomorrow for his birthday, so I probably won’t have much time tomorrow to watch some more. Maybe Sunday, then ๐Ÿ˜†

I’d like to watch some more of these Studio Ghibli films. I’m also considering using these films as a way to learn my two target languages: Chinese and Japanese! One of the benefits of living in HK is having Chinese and English subtitles available for a lot of TV shows and movies. And the Chinese subtitles are available in both simplified and traditional characters! And then on top of that, Japanese shows and movies have Japanese subtitles available as well. It is such a good place to learn these two languages. I have so many learning resources at my disposal, I can’t let my time in this city go to waste!