I had one of those days where everything felt shitty. Firstly, I didn’t get a very good night’s sleep, so that already wasn’t a great start to my day. But then that shitty start just carried on throughout the day 😔
Firstly, we went to a karate expo out in Kowloon Bay. We caught a bus for part of the trip, but ended up missing our stop, so we just got off at the next one, which, according to Google Maps, was FIVE KILOMETRES AWAY. W-T-H!! It felt like we were well on our way to China, that’s how far the next stop was!! It was a bit insane 🤪 And then the drizzle wasn’t helping matters either 😒
I have mentioned this before, but it was apparent again today, and exacerbated when one is in a shitty mood: HK is not very tourist friendly. The signs to various tourist spots are not very clear, if they even exist, and signs in general are pretty lacking. So we were just wandering around the general area where the expo was being held, not knowing where in the world the entrance actually was. And even when we found the entrance, there was still no sign saying what the venue was called, so we weren’t even sure if we were in the right building! 🤷♀️
Well we were, and we managed to fumble our way to the expo , after a rather frustrating journey to get there. It actually wasn’t all that great, even for N, so it was a shame that we went all the way out there only to be disappointed when we finally got there. I think it was the inaugural one, though, so hopefully it’ll continue to improve each year. We didn’t stay for long. And afterwards, we just had a quick lunch in the food court there, and just went home.
N then went to karate and I spent most of the evening just watching Chinese language instruction videos and general polyglot videos on YouTube. They’re still so inspiring! Which then made me want to practise some more Chinese, so I did 😊
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??
I found yet another good resource on YouTube, Iris Song, for learning Chinese. One of her clips has her reading a short passage called Burn the Midnight Oil, which I found really useful. So I copied the text from her blog and wrote it out in my own notebook, and actually studied the short passage, taking down notes, translating it, learning new words and grammar structures, then listening to her say it over and over and over again, repeating it with her most of the time, both looking at the text and without, seeing just how much I can actually hear without my usual crutch.
It took me way longer than I expected it to: I actually ended up spending the entire afternoon working on this 😲 Not that it felt torturous or anything, it was actually quite fun, believe it or not 🤓 Plus N wasn’t back from SG yet (I was tracking his flight while I was studying the above passage), and it was miserable outside, so it was the best type of day to study anyway 😊
He made it home safely (and early! His plane was about 45min ahead of schedule!) and we ended up just watching the first two episodes of the new season of Game of Thrones, while having fish’n’chips for dinner. They were goood, as per usual – both GoT and the fish’n’chips! 👍 😄
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!
As expected, since it always happens this way, my cold has now gotten worse. Isn’t that great. I still managed to get a few things done this morning, at least, and then I slept for most of the afternoon. Argh, what is it with me and sickness?!? 😒 It’s sorta good that N is in SG this week for work (did I mention that already?), so he doesn’t catch it off me.
And then I just watched random stuff on YouTube, trying to improve my listening, and also practising my speaking, repeating sentences to myself. Some clips also have subtitles, so I try and say things along with them. I find listening the hardest, because a native speaker can say things in however way they want, they’re not going to restrict their choice of words to whatever is in your textbook. Plus people have all different accents, and some accents are harder to understand than others. Then you have speed to contend with: some people speak so damn fast! So there’s a ton of variables when it comes to listening. Speaking isn’t tooo bad, as I seem to have this ability to get my message across with the limited amount of words and sentence structures that I know. But I still need to grow my vocab, as I think that’s part of the reason why I find listening so hard. Plus it’s just my lack of exposure to the spoken language. So YouTube is currently my best friend! 😄 There is sooo much stuff on there, there is no way I will run out of things to watch!
I still felt pretty shite today, and so I ended up sleeping for most of it. But it paid off, and I’m feeling somewhat better now.
And in the evening, I just watched a few more YouTube clips that polyglots have posted. I came across Lindie Botes today, and came across this clip of her time in SG. It made me miss that country so much! 😔
She absolutely LOVES Korean, and she also seems to gravitate towards various Asian languages. And what I like about her the most out of all the other polyglots I’ve come across on YouTube so far is that she’s learning my top three Asian languages: Chinese, Korean and Japanese. She’s even made clips about learning all three, which is sooo inspiring! She’s most advanced in Korean, which – despite all the fantabulous dramas that they make – is actually the language I’m least interested in out of the three! 😆 But she says Japanese and Korean are so close that it sounds like you’d sorta get a 2-for-1 package deal if you learn these two languages 😂 So I may consider picking up Korean later on down the track when I get a better handle on the first two 😃
We met up with a friend who’s here in HK for the weekend. We took her to yum cha, of course 😊 She apparently just turned 21! I didn’t realise she was so young. I made a comment saying that we are probably as old as her parents, which she agreed with 😂 So not sure why she likes hanging out with us oldies. I guess dancing just brings everyone together, regardless of age 😊
N went to karate, while I practised some more of my Chinese. I’ve been really focusing on my speaking and listening, to get it up to the same level as my reading and writing. I don’t want to get to a point where I can read a Chinese novel, and still not be able to hold a basic conversation! I’m still learning new words, so I’m automatically still working on my reading, but it’s just not where my focus is right now. I just want to speak more and listen more at this stage, and be as exposed to the spoken language as much as I can.
YouTube has been an absolute goldmine, a seemingly endless resource for all things related to improving these very skills. There is a ton of stuff specifically for my level, and then of course there’s more stuff that’s aimed at native speakers. I’m obviously just looking for Chinese resources, but I’m sure you could find almost any other language on there. It’s pretty crazy.
And then in the evening, we watched an episode of The Exorcist’s Meter, our current Cantonese drama. We’re getting close to the end, so we’ll have to find a new one soon! 😊