In just a short week I'll be starting my summer Chinese class at Shanghai Normal University! I'm super stoked because over 3 hours of classes a day is definitely going to help whip my speaking abilities into shape.
The time I've spent in China so far has been fantastic. Seeing the small roadside grocery markets and food vendors, and twenty something floor apartments gives off a totally different feel than anywhere I've lived in Texas. Even the traffic is different; there are many more pedestrians, people on bicycles and motor scooters, and many more taxis. It's the type of transportation structures that exists when few people own or need to own cars. Even though I'm the type of person that prefers the comfort of familiarity, I'm enjoying the change of pace of this new environment
Being away from fluent English speakers has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and converse with people even though I know my speaking skills are still lacking. I have a tendency to not say anything if I can't say it perfectly but right now I'm working hard at suppressing that tendency.
I'm currently doing some studying on my own for the time being and learning Chinese is still presenting the same difficulties it did the last couple of times in my life I studied it. There's a unique challenge in learning a language that isn't alphabet-based. The amount of memorization gets to be really confusing, especially with the characters that look really alike. Writing presents another challenge in that trying to remember how to write new characters or even characters that I know I've seen before in a way is kind of like trying to draw logos, like the Disney logo. It's distinct, something I've seen many times, yet would be difficult to replicate right away.