Now that I’m back in the USA I’m actually finding it really easy to keep my Chinese studies up. It hasn’t been reading boring textbooks, or monotonous vocabulary memorization either. Instead, I’ve been using the vast network of people on the web also trying to learn Chinese.
When I first got back I did continue using 大山 Dashan’s “Travel In Chinese” books/ videos, looking at an old text book I never used because I studied abroad instead and skipped that class, watching “Fated to Love You,” which is not as interesting as “Hi, My Sweetheart,” to me, but these means of learning Chinese got boring and repetitive.
Instead I finally joined twitter and found a bunch of really interesting people to follow who post interesting articles about their learning Chinese experiences, useful characters/ or phrases, and anything else useful for learning Chinese. Most of these people tweet about their websites and other people’s sites.
I’ve perused a lot of Confused Laowai’s blog and his website social mandarin. He seems to be a more advanced learner and has really relevant posts that I can relate to.
I recently found http://studymorechinese.com/which is another useful website that helps connect people who are trying to learn Chinese.
I also like http://jennyzhu.com/ who happens to host many of Chinesepod.com ‘s podcasts which I absolutely love!
http://chinesehacks.com has interesting posts.
http://www.mandmx.com is a couple and posts cartoons and other interesting posts.
I’m also following Imogen Heap (musician) who’s currently living in Hangzhou traveling to Bhutan, and working on her album.
Now, I moved down to Lynbrook to be closer to NYC and make it easy to interview for jobs and apply to grad schools. You’d think I’d be able to talk with my grandmother 外婆, but unfortunately, she doesn’t speak Mandarin. She mainly speaks the dialect from her small county. She’s from Qingtian county and speaks that dialect. (I call her waboo, instead of waipo) She tells me it’s a dying dialect and that nobody but her sister and brother understands her… However, because my great-(step)-grandmother speaks Cantonese they have kind of created their own pidgin (not quite though as it is still all Chinese and therefore prolly not so simple). She also speaks a little Shanghainese and Cantonese with her friends.
Now, if I was more fluent in Chinese I’d be able to communicate with her. However, since most of the time when I’m speaking Chinese I kinda of make it up or speak Chin-glish I plan on the speaker to understand what I’m saying because they are a native mandarin speaker. I can’t do this with waboo as the pronunciations are too different and she is hard of hearing now. I don’t know if she can’t hear me or just doesn’t understand.
My point is that I’ve found some great ways to practice my reading comprehension and my listening skills. I still need to find a way to practice my speaking though.
Thank you to all those struggling to learning Chinese and sharing their experiences and knowledge. I wanted to acknowledge them and give them some more notice.
For me, and most likely others, once I started learning it, in has engrossed me now I’m kind of addicted to mastering it.