Over the past two weeks, after talking with my girlfriend and my roommate about my current situation I had an epiphany. I was getting a little distraught about how the progress of my Chinese was going. I felt like it was going slower than others around me, and I wondered why. But then I was told, it’s because of all the self studying I was doing. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the balance that I needed, both studying from the textbooks as well as speaking to the people around me. For the first two months I was here, it was all studying and no speaking. The reason for this is I found it “easier” which was the biggest hurdle I needed to get over to begin really improving my Chinese. So, thanks to Esthefany and Mike, I was able to really see what I needed to start doing, talking with other Chinese people. I thought why not talk to the Chinese people I see everyday, the front desk ladies. Ever since that moment I’ve been talking with them often and my Chinese is progressing very quickly. So much so, that I will hold conversations that are beyond the “how’s the weather today?” and “how are you today?”. I began talking about everyday topics and issues. The best part of this, is I am getting corrected often. I can ask them, “did I just say that right?”, and they will be able to correct me.
Two days ago I was at the front desk talking with one of the girls at the front desk and an old man walks over. He had his suitcase and backpack on looking exhausted around 2 pm. Normally, I don’t take notice to the guests who come along, but I could tell this guy didn’t know how to say what he wanted to say in Chinese. Since the front desk ladies speak next to no English, this could have been a problem. I look over at him and ask him, Can I help you with anything? He was grateful, I was able to check him in and get his internet set up within his room. I realize that my Chinese is getting to the point where I can help others. I told him that I understand what its like to not know how to say what you want say.
That event got me thinking, that my Chinese is actually progressing and it makes all the hard work worth it when you can see you really have progressed. When I was in Shanghai, I had to ask others to help me how to say things, even simple things, but now it looks like I’ve finally reached a new level with my speaking.