Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Proficiency Plummeting Profoundly

I just got my computer back and working after literally DAYS without it. It was horrible. I hope you can empathise. This of course now means that my productivity in anything non-computer based, like reading and generally learning stuff, will plummet profoundly.

I was taken to the technology district of Nanjing to go and try and find out what was wrong with the bloody thing by two of my flatmates. They happen to both be gay and make a wonderful couple. This also apparently seemed to give them licence to, pretty much constantly, compliment me and talk about me. I was told I had a great figure, that my skin was so lovely and white, my eyes so wonderfully blue, t’was lovely to receive such praise… but what the hell can you say to that? Fanx lol!

It turns out the fuse in my plug had blown and run out of battery. Therefore, seeing as the retailer I asked had no new plugs of the British disposition, I had to buy a Chinese lead. I groaned at the prospect, expecting the price to be extortionate, it turned out to be 10RMB, the equivalent of £1. I love China!

I am also overly excited about the fact I now have a Chinese plug on the end of my computer. I feel like a local, no longer burdened by the need of chunky adaptors – so liberating!

A part of me is a little annoyed though. I was all set out for a prolonged laptop-fast. I would have been able to read books, study hard for the exams (which are now less than a month away by the way!) and write in my diary (as in a real book, with pages and inks and stuff – not a website), which I have now started updating properly.

But alas! What do I do as soon as I get the VPN on my computer working again? Twitter, YouTube, Facebook; all typed in and loaded in quick succession. When I have a computer with an Internet connection in front of me it’s like dangling heroin in front of a recovering addict.

I am worried a little about how connected I am to the Internet and therefore the rest f the world here. I suppose I would have to be plonked in the middle of the Sahara to get away from it now-a-days, but then there would inevitably be some catacomb with a WiFi terminal.

How much can I really get involved and immersed in China when I have the BBC and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance but a click away?

In other news I am a little frustrated with my Chinese right now. I have just got back from boxing, something I am so glad I took up. At the end of the session I was sitting there, all topless and sweaty and the like, when this guy with whom I have spared with in the past, Song, came up to start a conversation.

I understood absolutely nothing apart from the fact he was talking about my membership card. I then tried to steer the conversation towards something closer to my level of understanding, asking him how old he was and what job he did. His age I comprehended with ease (he is 26) but all I got from asking his profession was that its second character was “术” (shu)…

I just looked it up on and it turns out he works in technology… I have so many questions now! What kind of technology (技术)? Do you work with computers? If I have problems with my computer, could you possibly pop over, figure out that my laptop has run out of battery and then proceed to laugh at me?

As it stands, I had no idea what “术” meant, so the conversation simply petered out into awkward silence. I think he then mumbled something about needing the toilet – I put some clothes on and then left.

It’s so bloody frustrating! I have quite a good reading level in Chinese, along with my writing, and my listening, despite the complication with Song, isn’t horrific. But I just can’t bloody communicate! This is the first time in my language learning history that my speaking has been so bad in comparison with my other disciplines. Oral has always been my forte!

It is I suppose, so much in this country, very humbling.


Elly said...

Had a proper giggle at 'oral has always been my forte'. Giggidy!

Seriously though, the entire world is so connected it's near-impossible to totally immerse yourself in any culture, because it's all starting to merge. Don't stress about it, just enjoy what you can of Chinese culture :) you've got a long time to do it.

namaste-j said...

i studied french for almost nine years, and i'm amazed that i can always read with amazing comprehension.. but speaking is soo awkward - as i stand there staring out trying to pull together a phrase, while onlookers wonder if i've gone mental...

i'm in school for chinese medicine and mandarin is a huge part of the curriculum, though you have to learn it yourself.. a lot of my mates have had luck with the michel thomas method - it's all audio and centered around the sound of the language rather than the textual aspect.. just thought i'd put that out there...

黄典林 said...
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黄典林 said...
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