Capn's Blog

Friday, December 21, 2007

Crossing the mountain

It's been a while since I wrote about learning Chinese. And indeed, it's been a while since I did any Chinese study at all. What I wrote in March last year still applies:

I need to find a way to use Chinese every day, not just learn in a classroom. I need to start living what we are learning, not just keep studying as an academic exercise.

It's a chicken-and-egg situation. While I have a basis, my ability in speaking and listening is not good enough to communicate with others in Chinese, so it's really hard to get into the sort of dialogs that will help me improve. Also, the hours I put into my job and family mean that I have very little time or energy left for learning Chinese. Hence no progress.

I feel that if I can live in an environment where Chinese is spoken all the time, and I have the time allocated every day to study, I will be able to get over this hurdle, to the point where I can start to talk with people. From there, I can teach myself again.

As far as getting that learning environment goes, there's really nothing to compare to studying in China. The upside is that studying in China presents both the opportunity and the means. The downside is leaving my family here while I study, and the financial impact of not having a job for a while. Basically what it comes down to is looking at where I want to go, whether I can accept the downsides, and deciding what I'm going to do.

I'm close to making that decision.