Now that I've been back to work for over a week, I've realized how difficult it will be to still monitor my progress. Internally, I know that I'm working towards my proximal goals, but, I still want to maintain my blog regardless if the PME 800 course is over.
When I signed up for my Mandarin lessons, I set a goal to attend two lessons a week. Unfortunately, this week and next, I'll only be able to attend one lesson as I have had to schedule specialist appointments Thursday afternoons. So, I combatted this with providing myself more opportunities to use Chinese in my daily life. I helped organized a three day Professional Development workshop for the Middle/High school this week, and although I relied a lot on bilingual support staff to assist with arrangements, I had to speak with the concierge at the workshop leader's bin guan (hotel) and arrange shifu (drivers) to take him to kan changcheng (see the Great Wall) and back to the feijichang (airport). Time was the most recurring category of vocabulary that I used, so I'm happy that I went over that in my last lesson. Some examples include:
6:00 - liu dian (six o'clock)
6:05 - liu dian ling wu (literally, six o'clock five)
6:15 - liu dian shi wu/liu dian yike (literally, six o'clock 15/six o'clock quarter hour (I think!))
6:30 - liu dian san shi/liu dian ban (literally, six o'clock 30/six o'clock half)
I went out for Mexican last night and brunch this morning, both with Canadians who are ethnically Chinese but don't speak Mandarin (one is at about the same level as me, the other is a complete beginner). It was interesting that the wait staff spoke exclusively to them, but they were unable to respond. On the bus ride to brunch, a bus worker asked my friend what I understood to mean, "What stop are you getting off?" When I responded with, "SanJieFang," he continued to look at her, almost like he was waiting for her to translate. When she couldn't and I repeated, "SanJieFang," he repeated what I said for confirmation then moved away. We both found it funny, yet frustrating at the same time. Not many people are used to seeing people who are ethnically Chinese who can't speak the language and non-Chinese speaking it. It's fascinating to see their faces change when they realize what is taking place.