How Did My 2016 Resolutions Turn Out?

How Did My 2016 Resolutions Turn Out?

Scrolling down through my posts, I came across my New Years Resolutions for 2016; My (few) New Years resolutions. I had totally forgot that I had posted resolutions for myself (which isn’t a good sign), so I thought I’d update on which ones I unconsciously achieved, and some which I have not!

1.Study More Chinese.

Well I think I’ve done this unconsciously; I’ve attended another 2 semesters of Chinese learning since then. Plus I’ve read a few Chinese books, I’ve watched one Chinese movie (I know I know… 1 isn’t that good). But I have started watching a Chinese TV series called ‘虎妈猫爸’ or ‘Tiger Mum’ in English. There’s quite a lot that I don’t understand but I get the gist of each episode and the storyline. So my listening should be improving because of this. Finally my speaking; well because I’m an introvert. . . I’m not the chattiest of people even when I speak to people in my native language, never mind in Chinese! So that’s still a hurdle I need to address. But I think I achieved this resolution.

2. Do the HSK 3 exam.

Unfortunately I didn’t do this… but I did buy a book for practising! So I did have some good intentions to do it. To be honest I don’t really know how I sign up for it, and apparently you can do it in the comfort of your own home! I did not know this! I will do it one day… I might even attempt the HSK 4! haha well we’ll see!

3. Do more exercise.

Having come back from Ireland after Christmas and gaining a lot of weight, myself and my boyfriend started to do more exercise… then grew lazy as we all do. Thankfully I’ve bought a new bike so I now cycle to work and school. I’m still not as slim as before but at least I’m doing a bit more exercise. I’d have preferred to do even more exercise so I’ll put this one as half succeeded.

4. Travel more around China.

Having never left China during this year, I’ve travelled more around the country. My favourite is definitely Xiamen, I really loved the city. But I also enjoyed going to Kangding and Garze and experiencing the Tibetan way of life. I loved going to Yangshuo and seeing the famous mountains, then to Longsheng and walking in and among the rice terraces. Those a few of the places I’ve been to this year. So I’ve achieved that resolution.

5. Last but not least, be happier.

Mmm… this is  a tricky one. I hate to admit it but I’m a pessimist… instead of thinking of what could go right.. I’m constantly thinking of what could go wrong. And I’m also a worrier.. about EVERYTHING.  I really drain myself! I wish I could be a happier person… but I just naturally end up worrying and stressing over money, work, Chinese, finding a good job, missing my family loads… thinking about life after China… so obviously this makes me much less happy. I’m afraid that I’m going to live out the rest of my life not being happy; because I didn’t do this, I couldn’t do that.. I did that wrong.  So I suppose with this resolution I’ll say I half achieved it.

Now I must make my Resolutions for 2017!

再见

爱玲

I Hate Visa Time

Time has again rolled by for having to apply for a new visa. I don’t particularly enjoy having to renew my visa; nothing ever goes to plan. I don’t think we have ever successfully applied for ours in one day. You always hear:

“You don’t have this document.”

“You need the original copy of this”

“Where is blah blah blah copy?”

But our 1 year study visa has nearly run out, so it is a must!

Having to sort out visa things a few times now, we sort of know what exactly we need to bring. We were pretty sure that everything would go smoothly!

Wrong!

One by one, each person is called to a desk and the officer looks through our papers and what not. This is the bit that I dread. They could ask you nothing, and simply carry out checking you have the correct documents, or they could bombard you with questions! This time one year ago I was bombarded with questions about working and studying.

So this time round I was a little nervous. I don’t want to say something wrong or stupid and then have them cancel my visa!

I’ve been hearing lately that the visa officers are becoming more and more strict with visas and who they give them out to. In China, the people who cannot get a work visa, decide to enrol with a university and get a student one, but then never come to class and just work 30-40 hours a week. So now officers are checking random foreigners to see if they have the right visa.

But thankfully with my visa everything was going ok… until he said “Today you will have to pay 800yuan for your visa”

What??? I was only prepared to pay 400yuan… If I was staying for less a year, or even just 364 days, then I only need to pay 400yuan.  I thought all my documents said that I wasn’t applying for a year visa.

I started blubbering and saying that I wasn’t applying for the year one, in which he replied “Do you see here on your passport visa, it says this name, but on your work contract there is another name, so I can’t give you an extension because they are different. I know they are the same company, but they gave you a different name of the company on your work contract then whats on your passport visa.”

He carried on telling us that we could either wait until the current visa is about to expire and then apply, or pay the 800yuan. We told him we couldn’t wait; we would be leaving China only a few days after they expire, so it was impossible.

But then, thankfully he said “well if you want to go to your work company and ask them to change the name, then come back tomorrow and we can process your visa then.”

Oh I was so happy when he said that! I really didn’t want to pay an extra 400yuan.

We didn’t want to have to go the next day to sort it out so we decided to go straight after, get it all over and done with in a day.

We went to our work headquarters half an hour away and they filled in another contract for us. We travelled back to the PSB office and the man was surprised when he saw us “Oh you have the correct one now?”

We both successfully paid and we were finished, having to collect our passports in three weeks, then it’s over! No more worrying!

再见

爱玲

Working, Studying & Living: Sorting It Out

For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing what to do with our lives for the next year… and finally we’ve come up with a plan.

Working: Because I’m making hardly any money at the moment… although I do love the free time that I have, I’ve resorted having to go back to full time, well 15 working hours a week. This in my company is ‘full-time’.  I’ve managed to keep only working 3 days a week which is just great. I will dread the day when I have to work 7 hours 5 days a week. I’m really being spoilt here.

So working full time means I will be guaranteed my wage every month, whereas right now I’m paid by the amount of hours I teach.. so during the summer time I hardly get paid anything because students go on holidays.

Studying: We’ve also decided that this semester will be our last in our current Uni. I’ve really grown fond of it, plus I enjoy classroom based teaching. But every semester we are finding it harder and harder to get up in the morning. And at the end of the day I still have to pay 1 year tuition. We will miss everyone that we have met, even my teachers. All of them are so nice.

Instead of learning at the Uni, I will continue going to my private lessons in a private language school. It’s only 15 minutes walk from my apartment so it’s very convenient.

And as for Living: Unfortunately due to the enormous cost of rent in Xiamen, we decided to stay in Chengdu. It’s just too expensive. I really love the place, but I don’t want to be worrying about bills and rent just because I want to live somewhere sunny and pretty. I’d rather save my money and go travelling. Instead, when our apartment contract is finished, we will look at some apartments in the community that we already live in. We like where we live and we don’t want to have to lug our things miles away. Because we are going to be earning more, we want to upgrade to a bigger apartment… haha we might even get a balcony, and even a door for our bedroom!!

So right now, we are sorting out my boyfriends Mum and Dad’s visa to come to visit here, let our company know that in December I will be able to teach more students (they will surely be delighted with this), and begin to sort out the dreaded work visa for next year.

Every foreigner in Chengdu dreads that time of year when their visa expires. Enrolling in Uni is the easiest way to get one… but because we will be getting a work visa, we will need to go to Hong Kong on a ‘visa run’ as people say, plus we will get a medical certificate done.

I’m not too fond of going to Hong Kong. It’s expensive and crowded. However maybe this time round it might be different with my boyfriend being with me.

I hate having to sort visa stuff out. The people working there are not at all friendly and they can deny you a visa without giving any explanation whatsoever. Plus if you don’t have 1 piece of paper, that’s it: go home and come back when you get it. Oh and they need like 10 photocopies of every piece of paper you have. Oh they are very picky!

So, we’ve managed to sort out our plan for next year…. ha I won’t think too much ahead just right now or I’ll panic again!

再见!

爱玲

Methods On Learning Chinese: Week 2

For last weeks meeting on how to learn Chinese more efficiently, we were introduced to a new systematic way of remember both tones and the pronunciation.

It sort of involves a memory palace, where sets of pinyin like ‘iong’ are put into either categories like men, women, animation characters, or gods.  So far, I’m still confused with how you go about trying to remember how each pinyin is represented by one of these categories, so this week’s lesson will explain to us in more detail how it works.

I think it’s very clever way of memorising Chinese. God know’s It has been difficult for me.

They also gave us Anki decks where we have to pick a picture of someone, say George Clooney, and match him with a sound like zh. That way you associate that sound with a person.

To me now it’s still all a bit confusing, but hopefully in tonight’s class it will all become clearer!

再见

爱玲

Don’t Want To Quit

As I keep saying, this Chinese really does do my head in sometimes. I put the effort in, but I just can’t see the results….

Some days I think ‘Whats the point??? Will I even use Chinese after learning it? Would I be better off just quit learning it and start learning Spanish instead?? Spanish will only take about 1 year to learn anyway.’

But this  thought keeps popping up:

‘I don’t want to quit’.

Like so many other people, I quit a lot of things when  I was younger; Speech & Drama, tin-whistle, flute, dancing, singing, karate (although I can’t remember) learning French, among other things. Now I regret quitting all those things. I’m jealous that so many Chinese students can play the piano, I wish I could play it. But I know I probably would have quit at some stage.

So now, with the Chinese, I’m old enough to have some self-discipline. I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I want to meet my French teacher one day and say to her ‘Yes I can speak fluent Chinese.’ (I was the worst at French and there were only 7 students in the whole class)

I don’t want to add Chinese to my long list of regrets.

So I’m going to keep trying and trying and even more trying to learn this seemingly impossible language. And maybe one day it will all just click into place for me.

I need to stay positive with it and stop pressuring myself to be better than what I am. I’m terrible for putting myself down, especially for Chinese.

I just keep thinking ‘In another year  I’ll know more Chinese then I do now.’ Which helps a bit.

再见

爱玲

 

Possibilities for the future

I’ve just read that KLM are now offering flights from Dublin to Amsterdam, which of course is a plus for tourism in Ireland. I’ve flew with KLM when going from Amsterdam direct to Chengdu, first having to fly with Aer Lingus from Dublin to Amsterdam.

When I was in Ireland, I’ve never travelled to many places in Europe, mostly due to lack of money. Now that I’m in China and travelling around China (by plane) is quite expensive, I’ve now realised that I’ve wasted a lot of chances to travel around Europe; maybe visiting London for a weekend or strolling around Amsterdam. Maybe If I was surrounded by more people who actually enjoyed travelling, maybe I would have been more adventurous. I dunno, I just thought ‘All the places I want to visit will always be there’ kind of thing.

I do see myself going back home for a while, whether permanently or just temporary I don’t know… but I’ve promised myself to visit more countries in the EU…they are literally on Ireland’s doorstep!

But first, as I’m in China… both myself and my boyfriend want to travel to countries nearby us; Japan, Korea, maybe North Korea, Thailand……

Because I know when I’m done with China and it’s time to head home… there is a big possibility that I won’t be back… so I’d like to visit all these countries while I’m here.

I don’t want to regret it in the future!

再见

爱玲

 

Methods On Learning Chinese: Week 1

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I’ve started a 12 hour course in order to improve my method of learning Chinese. At the moment one of my methods is translating my textbook into English (or Chinglish), then re-translating it back into Mandarin. That way I can see if my translation is the same as in the book. But I’m obviously missing something.. as my Chinese still isn’t what I’d like it to be.

So last week was our first week of this 12 course we signed up to. Our first class we basically went through the phonics and tones.. easy enough. I’ve studied this in college already… but it is great to learn this stuff from a non-native person. The two guys that run the company know which phonics are difficult for foreigners, so they take a different approach in how we should learn it.

The most difficult ones for me are the ‘r’, ‘x’, ‘j’, ‘q’ sounds. They made an extra effort yesterday to make sure we were saying them correctly… ie showing us where to put our tongue when pronouncing these sounds.

Tone wise, I’m ok with these.

For homework, they gave us 100 cards of Anki, which we have to listen to and answer the correct pinyin and tones.

Oh, and I’ve found out that my college exams will be held next week! We have 12 topics altogether.. so my plan is to study 2 a day… ha but we will see how that goes!

再见!

爱玲