Day 113 - Mandarin Madness

Monday, May 30th, 2016
Smog Level: 1/3 Mountains


Despite the smog, the sun still burns. The temperature online says it’s only 23 today, but it feels more like 30. Pretty sure the location is wrong... but it’s always hard to tell when the VPN sometimes makes apps think you’re somewhere else. At least the AC has been switched on at school.

Study Habits

In the lounge, I try to get back into studying mandarin. It’s been a while since I’ve forced myself to actually look at my notes. Opening the book feels like it will lead to a crushing avalanche of what I should know, but don’t. I decide to focus on the practical. Positions. “That one right there" or "it's across the street" and giving directions. Really, I just focus on remembering 3 words. Anything more will just fall away.

Just one of several bike sheds that never seems to be accessed by anyone.
My Favourite Weekend

In class, we often ask them their favorite things as practice questions. I asked them “How was your weekend?” to which some of them started with “My favorite weekend, I did…” Don’t worry kids, I also get confused. We decided to ask them their favorite movies. One of the kids, Jacque, said his favorite movie was the Little Mermaid, which got him laughed at. You know, I respect this kid. He doesn’t seem to censor what he likes or thinks even if it’ll get him laughed at, and he tries really hard in class. He always puts his hand up for questions, even though he often has no idea what the answer is. I'm not sure if he’s not naturally very smart, or if he just doesn’t study, but I’m rooting for him. Not in the Australian way.

They had their monthly Carden test today, which means lots of marking for me. But hey, at least the session is like a quiet break.

Yes, Boys and Girls are Color Coded.
Sadly, I've had to reference it before when I was unsure.
Wise Guy Henry

One of my classes has a real wise guy. He’s very smart - so much so that he was able to make a couple puns in English. Remember, this is ESL grade 2 and he was able to make a play on words. Bravo. Another kid got called on to conjugate the past tense of “tear,” but didn’t know so he said “osch!” as in “oh crap” kind of reaction. The wise guy says “Osch? How do you spell Osch, Sam?” which I couldn’t help but laugh at.

Mandarin Class

Everyone else cancelled; the lesson's all mine, and mine alone! We practice locations, drawing a grid on the board and pointing to random sections, forcing me to give directions as if I wanted to order it. “Qián miàn, dì ēr pái, yòu miàn, dì sì ge” or “Front side, 2nd row, fourth from the right.”* At least I can order food better, if somewhat slowly. It’s a good drill for when you want to practice placements. Another version would be drawing out a small town map and give people directions to various locations.

*Literally: "front side, second row, right side, fourth one"

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
miàn / biān
[me-ann / be-ann]
dì yī
dì ēr

Editing Music
Dark Shines

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