Yesterday I met with my language partner and she was curious to hear about how I was getting on at level 5…. Well, that’s until she heard that I am not doing so well. Fortunately, she’s one of the kindest people I know, so she decided to take me under her wing and help me. So on Sunday we are having a whole day of Chinese where I will not only be practicing on using all the 4982634896239462934692364 new words I am learning every day (it is a bit over the top I have to say), but also will head to a bookshop and get a Chinese dictionary… I adore my own little electronic life-saving dictionary, but I have come to this point where we are studying so many new words that the dictionary cannot explain, so I figured it would be good to get myself a Chinese one (and one that shows how each and every word should be used, since our teachers don’t want to bother explaining that).
It’s been a somewhat shaky week in school. One thing that I still have to get used to is the aggressive atmosphere amongst my classmates. EVERYBODY wants to talk, ALL THE TIME! Me, not being the aggressive kid, can just forget about it (and to be quite honest, I guess that suits me fine… at least at this point!)
Also, the discussions we are supposed to have during our oral class always snowballs into something completely different. Like the other day when we were talking about what jobs are the most popular ones in our countries (and I had nicely prepared a few things I wanted to say)… Well, it didn’t take long before one of the smart kids (the guy with the degree) turned that discussion into a 10 minutes speech about what the credit crunch is doing to the people of his country. Soon we were out on deep waters and I couldn’t follow anymore. It’s kind of sad that the teachers doesn’t direct the discussion back to where it should be, but so far they have fallen head over heals for this ‘extremely intelligent laowai’ and gives him as much room as he wants, which he, of course, it happy to take (I personally still don’t really understand what he does in my class because it is obviously too easy for him? He speaks and reads extremely well, and every time the teachers explain some grammar he already knows it and asks about something far more complicated. It would be like me going back to level 2 or 3 where I already knew everything? No, I don’t see the point, but I suppose he has his reasons?).
Also, because there are so many words constantly being spoken, I am finding it impossible to keep up with it all. Except for the 60 new words of each chapter there are another 40 new words that comes up during every class. First I decided to write them all down in a notebook, but when I did I noticed that only after 2 days I had gone through more than 10 pages… So now I am being more selective. I mean, there is no point for me to try to push 100 new words into my brain every day? No good will come out of that (only headache). Rather, I’ll focus on the most important ones and just learn how to use those.
Anyways, I think it is all going to turn out fine in the end. I have decided to see it as an advantage (to study together with so many whiz-kids) rather than as a disadvantage. Sure, I don’t get to speak so much during class but it’s OK. I have my Chinese friends to practice with. And as for all the new words that we are going through… I reckon that in the end, maybe it will even help me to advance faster? Today I am signing up for the HSK course as well, so from March onwards I will have even more books to study!
“You’re going to take on that one too?!” my boyfriend asked me last night, seeing that he's seen how busy I've been this week with trying to keep up with my class. But I am thinking yeah, why not? It’s already so hard that I doubt that it can get any harder.
Also, yesterday my language partner asked me: ‘where do you want to go with your Chinese –like, how good do you want to get?’ and I guess that is a good question. For the last month or so she’s been telling me that I should get a job rather than studying and just continue to advance by communicating with my Chinese workmates. And I guess she has a point, especially since I am mainly after being able to communicate orally and read in Chinese (however cool it would be, I know I will never fully learn how to master the writing). Although at this point, I still don’t think I am good enough to get a job and totally rely on my Chinese… but who knows, maybe after this semester?
(bah, what a boring Friday post!! Next week will be more cheerful -promise!)