Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eastside Fellowship 

Busy day yesterday. I didn't get back to Wudaokou until almost 10:30, because Jordan and Lily and I had gone to Chaoyangmen to have dinner with Raymond and the Eastside Fellowship. Raymond lined up a great restaurant for us near the Chaoyangmen subway station. By greet, I do not mean large and extravagant. It was a small place--not sure how Raymond even found it. But the catfish was really delicious. I have said it lots of times, but in China, bigger and more expensive does not mean better. I should have gone straight home when we got to Wudaokou, but I hadn't done my Chinese lesson for the day yet, so I headed to the coffee bar. Take my advice; don't wait until 10:30 in the evening to start your Chinese lesson. Just not easy to concentrate late at night. I always study best in the morning. But I must also say that I probably wouldn't have accomplished much if I had studied only in the morning. I am still wading through The Three Kingdoms. The way I say it makes it sounds like I am really making progress. I am, but very slowly. Still, as Confucius used to say, "It doesn't matter how slowly you progress, as long as you don't stop." I meet with May every two or three weeks for an hour and a half. In that time, we manage to go through three new paragraphs. I ask her one at a time what each character is (the ones I don't know yet), and then she writes down the words and has me fill in the definitions. Then, I study on my own for an hour and a half or two hours a day, looking up the characters in my electronic dictionary to get precise definitions. I go through the two or three paragraphs until I can read it without looking anything up, then I meet with May again. I read and verify what I have been studying, and then we grab three more paragraphs. It is a very slow process, but it works, especially because May managed to find a little executable within which are encapsulated 42 abbreviated chapters. That is a little more manageable for me than the five volume bilingual set I bought when I first came to China five years ago. This is really working. It will take me some time, but I am starting to get my arms around it. I do need to get back to conversation school, though. This little interlude has been a great help to me, and will continue to be, because in conversation school you really make use of reading skills, but you don't learn them that well. But I really do need to keep learning how to talk. I will probably start again with my tutor at Sinoland again in September.

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