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˜†

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Dramas and apps

I’m getting to the good bit of Nice Witch, which I really just want to finish now! It started off pretty slow, but I think it’s left the better episodes for the latter half of the series 😊 I still have a few episodes left to go, but I should start having a look to see what my next series will be. I keep saying that I should watch a Chinese drama to work on my listening, but the lure of the Korean dramas is just too strong! πŸ˜†

I also spent a bit of time in HelloTalk tonight, that language exchange app. I posted something in the app about liking this particular song, and someone then told me about this app where people can log in and basically have a karaoke sesh on their phone! You can choose whatever song you want, record yourself singing it, and then upload it onto the app. And then apparently you can follow people whose voice you like. It’s a pretty cool idea if you’re into karaoke, which Asia seems to be. I’m so not, which I might’ve mentioned in a previous post, but this app sounded interesting nonetheless. I might download it and check it out 😊

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 πŸ˜‚ 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 πŸ€ͺ

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! πŸ‘ 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 😊

Nail in the coffin

** Spoiler alert: Game of Thrones finale**

It wasn’t the best of days. I was feeling rather down today, and couldn’t really shake it off all day. So as a result, it wasn’t the most productive of days πŸ˜” I ended up just reading / studying a bit more of my Chinese version of The Little Prince, and then watched a few more episodes of Nice Witch, my current Korean drama. It’s finally getting good! I’m glad I decided to persevere with it. It’s the usual over-the-top drama with a ridiculous plot, but I find that part of the appeal πŸ˜†

And then I ended the day with the most disappointing episode of Game of Thrones ever. It was really underwhelming, given how good the rest of the series was. And it was the final episode of the entire series, which made it even more disappointing. Just the final nail in the coffin of an already shite day, really. Sighhh… Fingers crossed tomorrow will bring more fun and happiness than what today brought 🀞

Where to put the d*cks

I was in a pretty shitty mood all morning, which was a bit of a downer πŸ˜” But luckily by late afternoon, I was back to my cheery self again, so my grumpy mood didn’t last for too long, thankfully πŸ˜…

I posted something in that language exchange app and got slammed by a bajillion people for getting two characters wrong: ε€ͺ / 犬 and 车 / 东 . Now don’t you think these two characters look very similar?? For the first pair, the d*ck just gets put in different places around 倧 and I can never remember where it’s placed for which word πŸ˜‚ And for the second pair, one word has the two diagonal d*cks down the bottom, and one less horizontal line, and a bit of a flick at the bottom of the vertical line down the middle. My point is, they look similar, so I get them mixed up sometimes.

Anyway, so one person corrects me and I’m like ok fine, I wrote the wrong one, let’s move on. And then another person makes the exact same comment five seconds later. And then someone else. And someone else again. C’mon people, don’t you read other people’s comments?? So unless everyone is just posting all simultaneously and the server doesn’t update other people’s comments very quickly, once one person makes the correction, is there really a need to correct it a second time? Or third or fifth time? Or hundredth time?? Sheesh πŸ˜’ Luckily by the time I was posting in the app, my shitty mood had already dissipated, otherwise I would’ve been so annoyed at these guys, being as annoying as the d*cks in these characters! πŸ˜‚

Music

I’ve been listening to a Chinese (Singaporean) radio station lately, exposing myself to more of the language as much as I can. Through that, I’ve been hearing a few interesting songs and Shazam-ing the ones that I like. And then I also Shazam songs that are interesting – for instance, this one. This singer’s voice reminds me of Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries! Every time I hear it on the radio, I always have this surreal feeling wondering why The Cranberries is playing on this Chinese radio station. “Oh it’s The Cranberries! Coool! Oh but wait, she’s singing in Chinese, how is she singing in Chinese? Is it The Cranberries?? Oh no, it’s that Chinese singer who sounds like Dolores!” It’s like this thought process goes through my mind in like a split second and puts me into this surreal world for the briefest of moments. It’s so strange!

And I also heard a Chinese version of Despacito; and then this morning, I heard a Chinese version of Enrique Iglesias’ song Pienso En Ti! I wonder how close the lyrics are to the original songs, or whether they just borrowed the music and fit whatever lyrics they wanted to it. But it’s sorta cool hearing these tunes that I already know being sung to Chinese lyrics! πŸ‘ Music is one of those things that brings the world together. Haha that sounds so profound, but you know what I mean 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