Happy New Year! (新Xin 年Nian 快Kuai 乐Le!)
It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been in Beijing for over a week already, it’s even harder to believe that I’ve only spoken Chinese for the past 10 days. I literally never leave the classroom because I am constantly living, breathing, and learning Chinese. I’ve downloaded an English-Chinese dictionary app on my phone and I use it to look up words when I don’t know how to say. I always make sure I am carrying this around with me – it’s become an essential tool for communication.
Losing the ability to speak English was very strange at first. It really makes you feel like a child again, because you don’t know how to say a lot of words and because you speak very slowly and carefully. All of us have been through hundreds of stages of frustration – whether it’s from trying to explain something to somebody, or from not understanding what somebody said. Even when we don’t know how to say a word in Chinese, we aren’t allowed to use English. Instead, we have to try to use other Chinese words to explain it. There are times that I hold back from say something because I don’t know how to say it in Chinese.
Although it’s terribly annoying to not be able to communicate your thoughts or feelings, the language pledge is doing wonders to my Chinese speaking skills. One of the best feelings in the world is when you can relate something you learned in class to a real life situation. This may sound kind of nerdy, but me and my classmates get so excited when we use a new phrase or sentence structure when we’re just hanging out around the city. It’s not like a language class in school. Here in Beijing, everything I learn in class is being constantly applied to my daily life.
Did I mention that i’m not taking any classes for any other subject? All of my classes are classes specialized to help me improve my speaking, reading, writing, and understanding Chinese. I have about 4 hours of class a day, and about 2-3 hours of homework/studying every night. After class, i’m free to explore the city. And in one week, i’ve already done a lot of exploring! I’ll update with more photos later, but for now, here’s an instagram of me. For those of you who don’t know, in the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year (Jan. 31st), it’s the year of the horse!
金羽庭 (Jin YuTing)