My atrocious listening skills

I had my online lesson today. My atrocious listening skills were on display yet again πŸ˜‚ But I’m sure she’s totally used to it by now, and knows that it is massively lagging behind everything else in my Chinese language learning. I wonder why it’s so bad. Maybe I’m just more a visual learner? Because as soon as she types out the word, if I already know it, I instantly recognise it. But my ears don’t necessarily equate a sound with a particular word. Maybe this just shows that I need to do wayyy more active listening πŸ˜”

And continue to learn more vocab! Every week, she gives me a bajillion new words. And that’s on top of anything else I pick up during the week. And yet it’s still not enough! I am still constantly looking up new words and reviewing old ones. It’s relentless! πŸ€ͺ I wonder if I will ever get to the point where I can comfortably understand something without having to look up every second word… πŸ€”

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Learning and more learning

I’m enjoying the library here in HK more than I thought I would. I didn’t expect them to have such a good range of English books – non-fiction books, in particular, especially finance books. They don’t have many English fiction books, which is disappointing, so I stick to non-fiction books when I’m there. And of course they have a ton of Chinese books in the children’s section for me to work my way through. So it’s unexpectedly been quite a good resource for me 😊

But unfortunately, they are still all paper books. What I liked about the library in SG was that it was the other way around: they had a lot more e-books, which I prefer. As a foreigner, I had to pay an annual fee to join the SG library, but it was totally worth it, given the extensive range of e-books that they had.

I managed to make it to the gym tonight, after having spent what felt like a bajillion hours watching YouTube. I usually watch YouTube for educational purposes, watching “learn Chinese” type videos or clips in Chinese aimed at native speakers, or watching things like TED talks. But today I just watched it for pure entertainment. That site is such a time sucker, I tell you! πŸ˜‚ You really have to watch your YouTube watching, otherwise, before you know it, the entire evening is gone! 😲

And then when I got back from the gym? I watched another episode of Ode to Joy, my current Chinese drama. Oh, remember my BHAG from yesterday? Well I finished writing up the first five minutes! πŸ‘ I am so proud of myself 😊

A portion of the dialogue from Ode to Joy (S1E12)

I’m going to continue doing this for the scenes that I liked (and in this episode, there are plenty!), so hopefully I’ll pick up some decent words and phrases along the way πŸ€“ I’ll have to show my teacher tomorrow. She’ll probably think I’m a total nutcase! πŸ˜‚

My new BHAG

I watched an episode of Ode to Joy today, my current Chinese drama. It was a really good episode in that it contained a lot of very typical, everyday dialog that I would want to use if (when! 😊) I want to have a conversation in Chinese.

So I decided that I’m going to study this one episode and treat it like my own real-life textbook of sorts. I’m going to understand every single word that they utter in the episode, and compare every single sentence to the English subtitles.

But of course my life ain’t that easy. The script isn’t just handed to me on a silver platter. I’m going to have to write the whole thing down – in both languages 😱 So let’s see just how far I get with this new ambitious goal of mine! πŸ€ͺ So far I’ve written down the first five minutes of the English subtitles. That’s the easy language. Now let’s see how long it takes me to write down the equivalent Chinese subtitles… Gotta love my Big Hairy Audacious Goals! πŸ€ͺ

I think the lack of sleep over the past week is now starting to catch up on me πŸ˜” I feel a little rundown now, and my throat feels a bit scratchy…. Hopefully I can get a good night’s sleep tonight, and that it will be enough to get me back on the healthy track 🀞

A weird day

I didn’t get enough sleep last night, and for some reason, I felt all queasy today too, that feeling you get when you’re about to walk into an exam or go up onstage to give a speech or presentation. And I was doing nothing of the sort! 😳 So that was weird.

Come lunchtime, I was still feeling all queasy and a bit off from the lack of sleep, so I decided to have a second cup of coffee for the day, something that I rarely do. But rather than making me all jittery like it usually does, it unexpectedly seemed to calm my nerves, and I managed to get through the rest of the day feeling a little bit more normal πŸ˜…

I had my online lesson today, but that too felt a bit off. I could barely structure sentences, and I had to ask her to repeat herself so many more times today than I usually would. I think she picked up on this weirdness, because she asked me if I spoke English slowly as well πŸ˜‚ I said no, and that I think I actually sometimes speak a bit too fast! But when it comes to Chinese, I still have to think, and I still have to go from English to Chinese, rather than just thinking directly in Chinese, which makes the whole process so much slower. And with the weirdness of today, I was thinking even slower than usual. Blahhh πŸ˜” I wonder if there’s a full moon out or something… πŸŒ•

But on a brighter note, I have almost finished Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. It’s actually quite a good book! I don’t mind Liane Moriarty. Plus all her books that I’ve read have been set in Australia, so they also give me the chance to reminisce about my hometown and just general “Aussie-ness”. And this book was no different. Her books are also quite easy to read, so they’re not mentally or emotionally taxing or anything like that. Nice holiday reads, I guess you could say. I’m hoping to finish it tonight and have a relatively early night. Not sure if that’s possible, but I can only try 😊

Dance practice

We didn’t do much at all today. We did some dance practice in the evening, but that was pretty much it! I wanted to do some more Chinese as well, but I didn’t get around to doing much of that either. I was really tired today, as if the lack of sleep during the week finally caught up with me. I ended up taking a 2-hour nap in the afternoon 😴

Dance practice was good – well, not the dancing per se πŸ˜‚ But we achieved quite a fair bit in the two-hour session πŸ‘ We need to do more of that, in order to get back into it. But we did say that we were going to take the year off from dancing competitively, so given this, I guess the amount that we are doing isn’t too bad… Plus I’m still doing some of my own stuff at the gym as well, so it’s not like we’ve taken a complete hiatus πŸ˜‰ And coupled with the fact that I was just generally tired today, I was happy with what we did manage to get through πŸ‘

Surely a possible goal

I had my usual online Chinese lesson today. We did a lot more talking and listening in today’s lesson, so of course I found it to be quite challenging. Listening is by far my weakest skill, so I’m still getting her to repeat everything a bajillion times. But I do think that my listening is getting better, even if it is improving at the pace of the slowest snail in the pack πŸ˜‚ What is the word for a group of snails? Lemme look it up…. ESCARGATOIRE!! Or rout or walk, but I much prefer escargatoire! That’s freaking awesome 🀣🀣 That’s definitely the word of the day πŸ‘

Sometimes I think she gets over excited because I’m actually understanding what’s going on and so we’re getting into something that you could almost call a normal conversation. So she gets a bit comfortable and starts talking as if she’s she’s with another native speaker, speaking at normal pace, and I’m like “nah dude, I have NO idea what you just said”, and the quasi-conversation then comes to a screeching halt πŸ˜‚ That’s one of my goals: to not have this happen anymore! To just have a regular conversation, when I’m not the one holding up the conversation any longer. Surely that’s a possible goal, right?!?

I told her that I found a new Chinese drama to watch, Ode to Joy. She has actually watched it! And if I understood her correctly, I think she said that it’s a good show to watch for practising my Chinese πŸ‘ Also to pick up new colloquialisms that I won’t learn in textbooks. I’m just trying to hear words that I DO learn in my textbooks, never mind anything else that they thrown in! πŸ˜‚ But it is good listening practice, though: they use everyday language as it is mainly focussed on the daily interactions among friends. They’re also pretty entertaining, so I wouldn’t mind watching certain parts of an episode – or perhaps even an entire episode – a few times just for listening practice 😊

Finally x2

I finally bought a long skirt today. Despite searching for one for months now and finally finding one today that actually fit me really well, I still had to force myself to buy it πŸ™„ I am such an under-buyer to the extreme sometimes! I got a free gym towel with the purchase too, so that made me feel a bit better πŸ˜†

I also found another new potential Chinese drama: Ode to Joy. It has been described as China’s version of Sex and the City, but going by the other Asian dramas that I’ve watched while we’ve been living here, I suspect it will have much less sexual content – if any – and definitely nothing like the shenanigans that Samantha got up to! πŸ˜‚ I watched the first episode, which was really just about the main female characters and how they meet one another, so guys aren’t even in the picture yet 😲 Maybe in the next episode… Nonetheless, it was a good episode, so maybe I have finally found my new Chinese drama 🀞 And I can continue working on my listening skills πŸ€“