Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More Crazy Times!

So, sorry for the lack of posts, I just have been busy with class and such since it started this month!

Speaking of class, last week I tried out class 1.4, which is the class entirely in Chinese, with Japanese and Korean students (they learn the characters a bit easier since they already know characters in their own languages, and Japanese has many Chinese characters in it with similar means, albeit different pronunciations.). I tried it out on Monday, and found that it was a bit faster paced than my all-western people class of 1.3, so I kept going with it...until Wednesday that is. So on Monday and Tuesday, we were going over "What do you like to do?" and so forth, something I had gone over in the other class (1.3). However, on Wednesday, we started a new subject (finally!), of time and dates. We had gone through it rather quickly, and our teacher already was asking us questions, even though we didn't go through the vocabulary as thoroughly as we usually did in 1.3. She asked me a question, and I had no idea what she was talking about until she told me what it meant in english. I realized then that this new class was too hard. I was devastated. It meant that I had failed at something that I'm good at (learning languages). I nearly cried in the middle of the class. It was then that I transferred back to good ol' 1.3. All of my friends are there, and though I may not learn as much as in 1.4, I'll learn it better.

It made me realize that I have my limitations, and Chinese is turning out to be a difficult language for me, since it's NOTHING like English, Finnish, or German, the languages I know. The grammar and the characters are difficult, but once you practice reading and writing the characters a few times, you catch on pretty quickly. It's just writing them correctly which can be tricky at times! ha ha!

My father also has been traveling a lot these past two weeks. I haven't seen him for more than a few hours in this time period. He's coming home tomorrow afternoon, and he shouldn't be going anywhere until Monday, but that's just a one night trip. And after that, he declined on ANOTHER trip. So it's been kind of lonely around here. I mean, I have my friends, but I have a difficult time opening up to them, since losing my best friend this past fall. I also am having a difficult time seeing myself even WANTING to get close to them, since I don't know if they share the same morals and ideals as me. *sigh* I'm meeting all sorts of interesting people, from all over the world, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're really close to me. I really miss my friends back home!!

I realize that I've been put in this situation for a reason...though I don't really know what that reason is. Is it for me to grow? Or to help others grow? I don't know, and it's a bit frustrating.

On a lighter note, I'm starting to enjoy this city more, and the more I explore, the more I'm finding the Chinese people to be really friendly and funny! My Chinese friend is so great (who is also my tutor!), and going shopping with her was such a great experience. I learned so much about China, the language, and also learned many helpful phrases to use while I'm out! I hope to see her again soon!

Well, this is *another* novel, so I'll stop here. One last bit of news, I'm going to be at a Maroon 5 concert this Saturday! They're one of my favorite bands, and I'm very excited to go and spend time with my dad. (he's coming too)

Take Care!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

First week of class over!

So my first week of Chinese classes are over! (Thank goodness!)

On the first day, I saw a blonde guy sitting on a bench outside the classrooms and he said to me "I sure hope you're learning Mandarin!" And with that a new friend was made, Divan, from South Africa. He lives near me too, so we've been hanging out at school together ever since. (Even taking the same taxi home sometimes!) I also met Bram, a guy from Holland, Nina, a woman from the phillipines, and Helen, another woman from England. There are also other Americans in my class, one from Italy, Chile, Israel, another guy from the UK, and a few Koreans. So I go to school with people from *literally* around the world. How cool is that! I'm going out with Divan, Bram, Nina, and *hopefully* Helen (her boyfriend is sick, so we'll see...) tomorrow for dinner and to some bars and whatnot. I'm looking forward to it! It gets kind of tiring hanging out with my dad and his buddies all the time! haha!

It was a rough first week of class, with the teachers using the characters from the start, so you have to keep up with the letters if you want to know what the lesson is about!! Me + Extra Studying= Stress!! And today I was just DONE with Chinese! I was so frustrated learning about how to say "what do you like to do?" and explaining to others that I nearly had it, plus I'm tired, so that doesn't help. I think that just the stress of the ENORMITY of this task of learning Chinese in China doesn't help very much. But after class, Divan, Nina, and I all went out for coffee, so it was nice. :)

I also have been going to the gym with a personal trainer. I've been sore after every session, so "no pain no gain," right? I'm trying to lose *at least* 30 pounds (roughly 15 kilos), but we'll see. I don't know if I'll get that far in this 5 months that I'm here, but at least I'm on the right track! No weight loss yet, but now that I've been riding my bike to school (about 2 miles, 3.4 km) I think it should speed up. :) I have to meet up with Simon (that's my trainer's name) later this afternoon for some more exercise! (my muscles are hurting even thinking about it, but then again, they're still sore from the other day with Simon!)

Well, this has been a novel, so I'll cut this short. Sorry for the lack of updates this past week, but now that class has started up, there will be more to write about!

Take Care!