Zhège wanshang (this evening), I had my first lesson back at That's Mandarin Xuéxiào (school). It was good to start a new routine and to see familiar faces. I was pleased that I could greet the receptionists and teachers and exchange a few pleasantries without needing to refer to any notes. What makes the setting so comfortable is that all the teachers know the material taught at all the levels, so they can adjust their vocabulary and grammar to make sure we can have simple, yet meaningful conversations.
Today's lesson was mostly a review since it had been over two months since my last lesson. We reviewed vocabulary for the market and simple grammatical structures. I love using cohesive devices when communicating (I tend to include too much detail), and had forgotten some of my favourites: yinwei...suoyi (because...therefore/so), danshi (but), xian...ran hou (first...and then). So, when I tried to open the conversation a bit more, I felt limited. I was able to refer back to my notes and come up with some good phrases. The ones that I was most proud of were, "zuotian wanshang wo qu jiuba. Wo chi pisa le, wo he qingdao le" (Yesterday evening I went to the bar. I ate pizza and I drank Tsingdao).
This conversation branched into eating out or cooking at home, so I learned the verb zuofan (to cook, literally "do food"), and how that can be adapted to be more specific. For example, zuo zaofan means to cook breakfast, zuo wufan means to cook lunch, zuo pisa means to cook pizza. Since I do a lot of my own cooking, I could say, "wo zai wode jia zuofan" (At home, I cook, literally "I at my house cook").
Finished the class talking about phone calls using very simple phrases like, "mama gei yisheng dadianhua" (the mom called the doctor, or literally, mom gave doctor a telephone call), and how to give someone your phone number.
Two things I need to review before my next lesson are numbers (my pronunciation is terrible) and listening. To do this, I plan on using the school's instructive platform, Mandarin Cafe to listen to dialogues without subtitles and try to write the dialogue myself in pinyin.
Liu. “Yesterday.” Unit 5 - Lesson 1. 1-on-1 Part-Time Mandarin Course, 7 Aug. 2018,
Beijing, That's Mandarin.