Life just goes a bit out of whack sometimes

I feel like I have turned learning Chinese into pretty much an obsession. Any time I’m talking to myself or to N or even Kitty, I try and say it in Chinese. I am also constantly looking up new words, and trying to remember ones that I’ve just recently learnt, to keep it in my memory. I want to build a solid vocab base, so I can follow what other people are saying, and also so I can better express myself in the language. So basically I’m trying to move up to the next level! I think I can now confidently survive as a tourist, knowing how to ask for immediate, basic things that I need, and I can generally follow what other people say if they dumb it down a bit for me. But now I want to get to the conversational level, where people don’t have to slow down for me, and I can talk relatively comfortably about general topics, and express my opinion on things. It’s a slowww process, but I think I’m getting there…! 😊

So today was bit Chinese heavy, and I didn’t really spend as much time on my other goals as I usually do. But that’s ok, sometimes life just goes a bit out of whack, but the keel eventually stabilises the boat πŸ˜‰

I also did help a few people with their English today, just giving back to the language exchange community 😊 I always feel good helping people with their English. And sometimes I do so simply because I’m just too mentally exhausted to do anything in Chinese! πŸ˜†


So motivating!

I’ve realised that a lot of people on the language exchange apps reply with “I’m fine” to my question “How are you?”. When English speakers say they’re “fine”, they’re actually not fine, and are being all passive aggressive about it! πŸ˜‚ So the first time I heard this reply to my question in SG, I was taken aback, actually, and l was wondering if I had done something wrong to upset him. But he didn’t have a sour look on his face, he just had a friendly tone and expression, so it took me a second or two to realise that this was just a standard reply. And soon I heard “I’m fine” often enough that it just became one of those quirks of the use of the language around the world. It still gives me a bit of a mental jolt, to be honest, and I probably still have some sort of micro expression that would reveal this involuntary reaction of mine whenever I hear this response, but I’m getting used to it 😊

I discovered this Facebook feed type feature in the HelloTalk language app today. You basically post whatever you feel like, much like in FB, except in this app, if you post something in your target language, native speakers can correct what you’ve written. It’s so good! I can do a bit of social media sharing, and learn at the same time πŸ‘

I have also started watching this Taiwanese show called 2εˆ†δΉ‹δΈ€εΌΊ, Half and Half. N discovered this show when he first started flying to HK for work last year, and I might’ve mentioned it once or twice before in this blog. They have a panel of all these westerners talking about their life experience either in Taiwan or in their home country – entirely in Chinese 😲 So when N told me about this show, I was so in awe, and was so motivated to be able to speak Chinese as well as these guys. Back then, though, I couldn’t follow anything that these guys were saying, as they were just speaking so damn fast, and I couldn’t read Chinese subtitles that fast either. So at the time, all I was really doing was admiring these guys’ ability to speak Chinese so fluently 😊

Fast forward six months later and I can now get the gist of what they’re talking about, if it’s on a topic that’s pretty basic (like their favourite food or their home etc), and it helps if they have a prop to show what they’re talking about. And now the subtitles further enhances my understanding, as I can now read that little bit faster as well. The jumble of noise is now becoming that little bit clearer, and I am starting to hear the individual sounds. I can pick up a lot more individual words now than I did before, and I can hear whole phrases if I read the subtitles as well. So hopefully over time my listening will get better and better🀞

The progress is seriously so motivating!

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 😊

Not in a good mood

I decided to go to IFC today, and buy some cleanser at the SKII store there. The woman who served me asked if I had a bag, and I said no. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, stores don’t readily hand out bags here in HK, and sometimes they even charge you for the privilege of getting one.

Anyway, after I paid, I realised that what the woman was actually asking me was “do I NEED a bag” and not what she did ask: “do I HAVE a bag”. So I asked for one, and she said it would cost fifteen cents. I was like omg fifteen cents, what is that, less than S$0.01?? (It’s actually less than S$0.03.) So even though that’s next to nothing, it meant that I had to break the smallest note that I had on me, which was a HK$20, as I didn’t have any coins. So if I had known that I wasn’t getting a bag right from the start, I would’ve just asked for them to include the additional HK$0.15 onto the cost of the cleanser when they charged it onto my credit card. Sighhh…

Then when I was handed my receipts, apparently the bag was fifty cents, not fifteen. I haven’t been impressed with the level of service at IFC, not just at this store, but in a few other stores too. It doesn’t seem to match the iconic name that the mall has for itself. Maybe it’s because the staff are not very comfortable speaking in English. I have found English to not be at the standard that I would expect in a global city. I have found it much harder navigating my way around HK compared to SG.

And then I made a number of losing trades in the afternoon. The last few weeks has been quite demoralising, actually, so I’m going to take tomorrow off (and perhaps Friday too) and regroup, do some more testing, and come back fresh on Monday.

I tried cheering myself up a bit in the evening by watching an episode of my Korean drama About Time, as it has been a rather frustrating day πŸ˜’ It’s getting good! πŸ‘ At least there was one thing that was actually good today πŸ˜†