Happy to be the weirdo

I had a good productive evening. My sesh at the gym was really good. I did a few basics on the treadmill, as per usual. I had one guy on the treadmill next to mine as I was doing Ballroom basics, and then a new guy replaced him when I switched over to Latin 😂 I still wonder what people think when they see me do these basics on the treadmill. Afterwards I do actually dance a bit in the small space available near the equipment, so hopefully people put two and two together! Not that it matters, I’m happy to be the weirdo at the gym ðŸĪŠ

And then when N came home from karate, for some reason he had decided to only speak Chinese for the rest of the evening. Sometimes I think to do this, but it is so much effort that once I say a sentence, I then revert to English pretty much straight after that. But for whatever reason, he persevered tonight, and so we had a good – and very challenging – practice session! 👍 We probably said a bajillion things incorrectly, but that’s ok, it’s all about getting the message across to the other person, and I understood him most of the time, which is the whole point of language. Native speakers and teachers can correct us as we go along this language journey, but we have to make the mistakes first in order to be corrected. Ah, it’s all part of the fun 😊

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Finding that right balance

I put together our new budget for HK today. Ugh, this city is so expensive ðŸ˜Đ I thought SG was bad, I think it’s worse here 😔 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 ðŸ’ĩ

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 😂💊 That’s a good sign 👍

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! ⚖ïļ

Foreign language progress (or lack thereof…?!)

  • I went to a cafe near home today, and I had to wait for a table because they were all occupied. While I was waiting, one of the waiters came up to me and asked me something in Cantonese, and pointed to their lunch set board. I asked in my usual bogan Australian accent if I could have a look at their regular menu, and of course he didn’t understand me. So I put together some dodgy Mandarin and said something that could possibly resemble “regular menu”. I don’t even know if what I said was right or not, and of course I struggled with my tones, as I always do, but he eventually understood what I meant and gave me their regular menu 😆 Sighhh… So obviously my speaking skills still need some work! I’m going to talk to myself more often in Chinese from now on, just to get used to saying things out loud. So whenever the time comes in the real world when I need to use it on the spur of the moment, something more coherent will hopefully come out! 😂
  • Interestingly, I don’t have this problem with Japanese, this language just comes more naturally to me. My knowledge of Chinese is actually much greater, but I can somehow converse better in Japanese. It is so weird. Maybe I’ve had more speaking practice in Japanese than I have in Chinese… So in summary: I need to practise speaking more in Chinese!!

  • And speaking of speaking 😉 I posted something in HelloTalk, that language exchange app that I’ve been using lately. I’ve been posting both text and a voice recording so native speakers can hear my spoken Chinese and comment on my pronunciation and what I need to work on. One person today commented that my pronunciation is good, and that next time I should focus on the pace at which I spoke. Little does she know that I was already pushing myself to speak faster in today’s recording! I was pushing myself to speak faster while at the same time retaining my tones. So maybe I need to focus less on the tones – which is what I’ve been doing up until now – and start working on speed. Small steps! But it seems like I’m heading in the right direction 👍
  • Feeling positive

    I had quite a productive day today, successfully working on all my main goals today: my Chinese, my trading and my fitness 👍

    I went to the gym for the first time in aaages, ever since I got sick, so I didn’t feel all that strong today. But I just wanted to get back into the routine of going, so I achieved that, at least. But then about half an hour in, my earphones ran out of juice 🔋 And I do my dance practice in the second half of my gym session, and my earphones died on me right when I needed them. Isn’t that lovely 😒 But that’s ok, at least I went, I just needed to get back into it today, that was really my only goal today.

    And then we watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones. It’s still making me interested in reading the book series, so I’ve pulled out book one from the study – N has the whole series 📖 It’s thick as! 😆 Like I mentioned before, it’s not a genre that I usually read, so I’m not sure if I’ll enjoy it, but I’ll give it a go anyway. I’m enjoying the tv series, so I’m hoping that I’ll get some level of enjoyment from the books too ðŸĪž

    Trying to keep things interesting

    I spent pretty much all day on our finances, so you can imagine just how unbelievably boring my day was 😂 But it was the end of the month, and I just felt like it would be a nice way to finish off the month, which is what made me persevere through the extreme boredom.

    And then in the evening, I just did some more Chinese study. I wrote out a few sentences from the Chinese half of The Little Prince book, and studied them in more detail. I also compared the Chinese in my book to the one that she was reading in this YouTube clip, which was slightly different – and actually very different at times. I found my book easier to understand, so maybe my one is aimed more for kids, hence perhaps why the book was in the kids’ section of the library 😊 But I like watching and listening to the YouTube clip so I can hear a native speaker reading it, and also see the text that she’s reading, so I can read along with her and try and emulate her pronunciation.

    N is now sick too, btw. We seem to get sick more often in the city. I’m always sick, so that’s no surprise, but for him to also be sick almost as often as me is a big surprise 😔 What’s the dealio, HK??

    My crutch

    It was my first productive day all week. I got a ton of things done, and the only area that was left untouched was really just fitness, as I don’t want to do anything too strenuous while I’m trying to get over this stupid cold. So it was a nice way to end the work week! 👍

    I then started watching this TEDx Talk on YouTube (my new best friend, if you recall my post from yesterday) – which is almost entirely in Chinese!! It has subtitles, though – but that is also in Chinese! English subtitles is obviously the best, but Chinese subtitles is the next best thing, as my listening is still really really bad. My reading isn’t that great either, but it’s way better than my listening, and if the dialogue is simple enough, I can get the general gist of what they’re talking about.

    I got about halfway through the talk, and was pleasantly surprised that I somehow magically fumbled my way through what she was saying! It was nowhere near perfect comprehension, but I probably got about half of what she was saying, if not more. And that is freaking good for me! I’m still using subtitles as my crutch – and it’s a pretty damn big crutch, if I’m being honest – but that’s ok, over time, I shouldn’t have to use it as much, if at all. Hopefully everything is coming together, piece by piece, to eventually create this big huge web of Chinese language “stuff”, which I can just pick and choose from at my leisure. Wouldn’t that be nice 😊

    So after this rather promising (and completely unexpected) experience, I’m even more motivated now to continue working on my listening!

    My focus on consistency

    I had yet another productive day today. This detailed schedule is doing absolute wonders to my productivity! I’m so glad I started this schedule a few weeks ago 👍

    I’ve been watching a few YouTube clips uploaded by Dr Alexander Arguelles on foreign language learning. This guy is a polyglot, and his whole life has been filled with languages. He speaks with a bit (!) of a monotone, which makes it quite hard to concentrate on his videos, but if you do, you can get some little nuggets of useful information, not just for language learners, but for general personal development as well, which I am also quite keen on. And there is no marketing BS in his videos, it’s just him happily giving information out to the general public, if they wish to listen to what he has to say. He’s quite eloquent – and verbose: some of his videos go for about an hour! So I’m still working through these longer ones. He’s obviously very knowledgeable about learning foreign languages. I’m glad I came across him, he’s quite inspirational – except perhaps for the monotone bit 😄

    I ended up going to the gym again tonight. I keep saying I’ll cut my session short, so I can go have dinner, but I somehow manage to stay for about an hour each time. I’ve been spending about half an hour on weight training, then the second half hour on dancing, and a bit of stretching at the end. It’s not bad, and more importantly, I’ve being consistently going. I’m still quite proud of my consistency effort lately 😊