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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

As Life Goes On....One Year Later

This post comes in two parts - if you want to skip the language stuff, go to part two!

Part One: The Language Stuff!

So, I've been keeping up with this blog, "Life After China," and the writer has lately been posting about his going back into Chinese language classes and the struggles (or not so much, apparently) that it entails. Some stuff he's way beyond, some stuff he doesn't know, and that's life, yeah? We know and we don't know. Anyway....

I'm pretty much decided on going back to Lanzhou for a couple of weeks (or maybe longer - I've been invited to visit several people's homes We'll see how the money holds out. I've got to have some for back home, too!)

This has really spurred me on getting my language skills back up and running. The past week or so, I've been really hitting it hard, and it's been fun! I'm making a video of me speaking Chinese and introducing my hometown to my Chinese friends, which will make it up onto here once I get it done and edited.

One thing that I've just started doing that I didn't hear Marcus talk about was utilize QQ - it's a Chinese online chatting program kind of like AIM and MySpace combined, along with many other features. I get chatting with a buddy in Chinese and if I don't know a word, I use Google Translate. *cheating, I know*

DON'T STOP THERE! What I've started to do is save the conversations by pasting them onto Pages/Microsoft Word, printing them out, and translating the conversations and reading them aloud, including what I didn't know. Example of part of my conversation:

Xia Fei  22:50:48
Austin (李强)  22:51:19
Austin (李强)  22:51:24
Xia Fei  22:51:30
Xia Fei  22:51:39
Austin (李强)  22:52:13
Xia Fei  22:52:39
Austin (李强)  22:53:04
Austin (李强)  22:53:15
Xia Fei  22:53:24
Xia Fei  22:53:29
Austin (李强)  22:53:30

There's a double advantage to this - you can practice your reading and vocab, but also simulate a REAL conversation that you just had! It's not one of those stupid "Can you fix my tire" dialogues, or whatever. It's a native speaker and you talking. Sure, the "proper grammar" may or may not be present, but it's how people really talk, and that's what matters on the streets. It'll get you more comfortable talking and getting into the lingual mindset. The best part is, you'll never run out of material as long as you've got friends!

Part 2: The Other Stuff!

Today is actually my one-year anniversary of leaving the U.S. to go to China. It's been a, who knew that I'd be doing and thinking this kind of stuff a year from today? I dunno...I think I had an inkling, but only that.

As I get farther and farther away from my China experience, time-wise, the memories of small things have begun to fad - the names of my favorite restaurants, names of acquaintances, and some of the more useless Chinese haha.

But seriously, it just reminds me of one thing - life goes on. It just does. Time will pass and memories will fade. It's just the nature of life. Life is fleeting - we need to live it the best we can and not shut ourselves out of new people and experiences.

When I get back to Lanzhou this summer, I may look for a job teaching or tutoring. We'll see how it plays out - I can't wait to get back into the ever-changing, crazy, awkward, difficult, and intensely fulfilling life in China!


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