You would think that after two years of living in China and studying Chinese almost every day, I’d be pretty good by now. I’m not. I can order food and get the gist of some of the simpler Peppa Pig episodes. But I still can’t understand what my elderly neighbors are shouting at me as I walk into the elevator.
In the hopes that one day I might understand their warnings that the elevator is broken and avoid a fall to my death, I’ve been spending my free time in China taking Chinese classes.Continue reading “Studying Chinese in China”
On paper, Rosetta Stone seems like the perfect app for learning Chinese. It creates an immersive environment and stimulates how we naturally acquire languages. There is no translation, so you learn the word more deeply. Also, it’s very very expensive, so it must be good right?
Well, unfortunately, maybe not so much.Continue reading “Rosetta Stone sucks for learning Chinese”
It was the end of another long day teaching English in China. I’d spent the last five hours trying to help a group of ten-year-olds decipher some American common core 6th grade reading and science textbooks. At this point, they didn’t want to learn, and I didn’t want to teach. So, I did what any good teacher would do: I organized a paper airplane throwing contest.Continue reading “Adventures teaching English in China”
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What has been the most difficult thing about moving to China?
Culture shock is a real thing, of course. Every culture has its own quirks that take some getting used to. In China, people spit on the street. Sometimes kids will poop on the street. They have squat toilets. People shove in the subway. They eat frogs.
Sure, these are all different, unusual, maybe even weird to someone coming from the West. Fundamentally, though, they are all superficial. I have been pleasantly surprised with how quickly I’ve grown accustomed to all those things.
You ignore the spitting. You laugh at the kid pooping. You build up your thigh muscles for squatting, and you learn to either shove along with everyone else. Or else find the toughest old lady you can and follow her. Oh, and frog meat is actually pretty tasty.
None of those things, or any of the other superficial cultural differences, are really that difficult to adjust to if you’re able to keep an open mind.
The biggest difficulty is by far the language barrier. I swear I’m learning Chinese, but damn it, it’s hard!
Continue reading “Learning Chinese, but Still Tīng Bù Dǒng”