A tough day

Kitty threw up quite a fair bit in the middle of the night, and so I had to get up and clean up her mess 😔 She recovered pretty quickly, though, and proceeded to scratch at whatever doors at least once per hour after that 😒 For what purpose, I have no idea, but it meant I got a very interrupted sleep 😔

But I have to give her credit: she somehow managed to guide me to the kitchen in the wee hours of this morning, to point out that she had no more food in her bowl, and so got me to give her breakfast 😆 She’s a smart little bugger, that one!

I had my Chinese lesson today, and man, it was tough. We talked about the HK protests for pretty much the entire time – in, surprise surprise, Chinese. Not quite a topic you would find in an ordinary textbook in any language. So you can imagine just how challenging this lesson was! 😂 And my Chinese language skills are already put to the test in every lesson, so it was multiplied that many times over today! I learnt some interesting words pertaining to the protests, though: attack, to shoot / open fire, media bias, fight in self-defence 😲 Again, things you wouldn’t normally learn from a textbook!

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Continuing on from yesterday

I decided to write my post from yesterday in Chinese 🤣 Obviously not a direct translation, as my Chinese is nowhere near that level, but I tried to convey the message as best I could, with my limited knowledge of the language. The topic is not easy, as I’m not talking about what I did on the weekend etc. But I am just telling a story, so I thought I’d give it a go anyhow.

I asked if we could discuss it in my lesson today. It’s a really long entry, and so I figured we’d need two lessons to get through the whole thing, especially since the topic isn’t very easy. I also told her that I found it very challenging, and I had to look up a number of words in the dictionary to write this entry. But I thought the topic was interesting, so I tried writing it anyway.

As I expected, we only got through about half of it, but she understood most of it! There was the odd sentence that didn’t make sense, but by and large, she understood it! 👏 And she also said that it was quite a vivid metaphor, which was pretty cool too. I’m so happy! 😊 So I learnt a number of new words today that I would never have thought I’d learn: opium, graffiti, tank (Tiananmen Square came up in our conversation) 🤣

I asked about graffiti because there was a lot of graffiti still scattered around today that they hadn’t gotten around to cleaning up yet. Sighhh…

And then this diner had its glass panes smashed, I assume as part of yesterday’s protests, so it was closed today. When will all this senseless destruction end?? 😔

Worrying too much

I feel like I’m losing my hair. I’m sure it’s linked to ageing, as everyone does lose hair as they age, but still, *I* know the difference from how my hair was when I was in my teens to how it is now. Yeah, ok, that was over a quarter of a century ago now 😂 So I really shouldn’t compare. And then I just got my hair straightened, so it’s feeling “flatter” than it normally would too. And then all this worrying is probably not helping either! Argh! 😫 I should just accept that this is a fact of life and move on. Although it’s hard to when I see my parents’ hair still looking pretty damn good at their age! I was hoping to have hair as good as theirs when I get to that age. Now I’m wondering if I will… 😔

I watched more of Ode to Joy today, my current Chinese drama. I’m getting close to the end, which I didn’t expect, actually. I felt like I was aaages away from the end, but apparently it’s crept up without me even noticing. It’s been a really good drama, I’m so glad I found it 😊 And it’s also serving as good Chinese practice too, which is awesome 👍

Tomorrow is a public holiday here, it’s National Day. But HKers are pretty much seeing it as non-National Day, with a number of protests planned all around the city. So I’m not sure if it’s really worth doing anything tomorrow. It’s all quite sad, to be honest. I feel for the city. It’s really suffering as a result of all these protests 😔

A realisation

I was telling N about a few things that my Chinese teacher told me in my last few lessons. But each time I tell him something, I attach a caveat to it, saying that our lessons are conducted almost entirely in Chinese, so I am bound to misunderstand something that she said.

And then that statement hit me: our lessons are conducted almost entirely in Chinese 😲 I already know this on some level, of course, but it only really hit home today what this actually means in terms of my level in the language. I know she still dumbs it down for me, and she tries and uses words that a student would know, and I still have to get her to repeat every second a bajillion times 😳 But the fact remains: our lessons are still conducted almost entirely in Chinese. No wonder these lessons are so mentally draining! 😂

I shouldn’t underestimate this, especially given how poor I keep thinking my speaking and listening skills are. So perhaps more objectively, they’re just not at the level that I would like them to be?? So I was happy with this realisation today 👍 I must still be moving in the direction of my goal, even though it doesn’t feel like it most of the time! So I just have to keep pushing on, and one day I will hopefully reach it 🎯

My subjective goal

Kitty threw up again this morning 🤮 That’s the third time in the past week 😔 Poor thing. At least she wasn’t losing her balance today, though, and she still somewhat had an appetite. She was also jumping up onto the couch whenever daddy had food, so this feisty one still has some energy in her 👍

I had my online lesson again today, and it wasn’t as much of a train wreck as it normally is 😂 I still ask her to repeat things, but it didn’t feel like I was doing it as much today. Maybe my listening is improving after all…! 🤔

She mentioned the HSK tests again today, and suggested that I sit for it. She reckons I’m HSK4 or above, which I thought was pretty damn good! That’s effectively a high intermediate level (B2) in the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) levels. I think I’m more like a lower intermediate (HSK3 / B1), but hey, I’ll take HSK4/B2 if that’s what they’ll give me! 😆 But those levels aren’t my goal. They’re milestones, I suppose, but that’s not what I want to achieve with my Chinese. So I want to continue with my language learning until I do get to a point where I am happy with it 💪 I guess only I will know when I get there – and I’m pretty damn sure I am nowhere near it yet! 🎯

Washing away all the straightness

I washed my hair for the first time today since getting my hair straightened. This first wash is always so stressful because it feels like I’m just washing away all the straightness out of my hair! And that it will never be the same again as that first day when I left the salon.

But of course the straightness is still there, surprise surprise 😆 The hairdresser said to make sure it is completely dry before I go to sleep, though, so I’m going to blow dry it to death tonight to make sure it retains its straightness 😂

I found another Chinese song that I like, 安静 (ān jìng – Silence) by Jackson Wang. It’s a cover of Jay Chou’s song, and I actually prefer it to the original. It’s a bit funkier. But he does rap a bit in it, so I’m not sure if I can sing along during those parts. I mean, I can’t even do the English parts, what hope do I have of rapping the Chinese ones?!? 😂 But let’s learn the lyrics and give it a good go first before we give up altogether. I think the song may be worth the effort 😊

Beautiful weather today

I started watching the original Dumbo movie today, but stopped it about a quarter of the way in when I noticed just how nice the weather was outside today ☀️ I thought it’d be a good day to go up to The Peak, as I’d probably get a good view of Victoria Harbour on a nice day like today.

I decided to try my luck and catch the Peak Tram up. I figured the queue for the tram would be really bad, given that it’s the weekend, but for whatever reason, I decided to try my luck anyway. I don’t know if it’s because tourist numbers are down at the moment and/or because people are not yet aware that the tram has resumed its services after being closed for renovations for a few months, but I didn’t have to wait at all! I easily got a seat, and a window seat at that 👍

When I got up there, I accidentally stumbled across the information centre, and they recommended doing this walking trail that’s pretty flat and is mostly shaded. So I did that. It was about a 3km walk and, like they said, pretty flat and mostly shaded! Fancy that 😆 You get some good views of the water that surrounds HK Island (where the Peak is located), and you get a nice, relaxing walk out of it as well. I listened to an audiobook while I was walking around, so I made good headway with it 👍

Walking around The Peak

I had a late lunch while I was up there, and was actually thinking of walking back down afterwards to continue with the walking. But I didn’t wear my sneakers today, unfortunately, and the shoes that I was wearing weren’t the most comfortable for walking long distances. And coupled with the fact that I had just walked 3km in them, I figured it wasn’t a good idea to walk down today. But I definitely have to keep The Peak in mind for future walks, for those times when I just want to get away from everything for a little while. It’s not bad up there 😊

View from Peak Galleria

I finished Dumbo when I got home, and by this time, I was too tired to go to the gym, so I just binge-watched a few more episodes of Ode to Joy, my current Chinese drama. I’m now, finally, around the halfway mark. It feels like it took me ages just to get to this point! 😆 But I’m really enjoying it, and I’m glad there’s also an Ode to Joy 2 that I can start watching after I get through this series 😊 And apparently they’re making Ode to Joy 3! Seems like the show was a major hit in China 👍

I noticed it in previous episodes, but it was so much more apparent in the last episode that I just watched, but every computer and mobile phone used in the show is an Apple product. It was everywhere in that last episode! I felt like the product placement went into overdrive 🤣

Oh, and speaking of product placement, Weet-Bix also made an appearance! Apparently sales of the cereal went up in China when that episode was aired 😂 And its product placement was nothing compared to what Apple must’ve paid. Apple must be really wanting to increase its footprint in China!

It’s a good show, actually, to see what daily living is like in one of the largest cities in China by population (if not the largest city!). And of course, a good source of language practice for me 😊 I’m glad I’m enjoying the series, otherwise, I wouldn’t be getting all this practice!