2016-12-28

Chinese Status Update Winter 2016

Welcome back. 

It has been about a year since I last wrote a Chinese language status update. Since then I turned 33, read 22 books to completion, started 10 other books, have gotten my passport stamped by nine different places in Asia, and I am currently in the U.K.  Many things in my life have changed, including my language skillz. Yes with a Z. :-D


One big thing about this year that was, I had no permanent home. I was always traveling with about five weeks being the average I stayed in a place. What that meant was a lot of the normal routines I took for granted were thrown into complete chaos.

For example, in Thailand we had a gym on the ground floor, I would frequent it 3x per week, but in Malaysia, there was no gym near our AirBNB, and it was too hot to run outside, so I had to do body weight exercises in our apartment bedroom.

It forced me to think on my feet and have more than one plan for accomplishing a goal, and it also gave me the opportunity to face that inertia of restarting an activity you stopped, and push past it, over and over.

What about the Mandarin?

wrote in past posts, a LOT of my learning comes from passive activity and routine habits. This routine has almost completely been destroyed by becoming a digital nomad. There are pro's and con's to every lifestyle eh.

In last winter's post, I planned out a framework for using Chinese that I would put into action. Not long after writing that, I started to realize while this framework helped me maintain what I had, it wasn't pushing me to learn much. With that in mind I decided to try and figure out some alternative methods for studying.

It took me some time but here is where I am at.

  • Every day I speak some Chinese with my wife and/or friends. 
  • I use social media to read bits of news, or communicate with my friends in Mandarin. 
  • Two days a week are study days. What I do on these days depends on how motivated I feel. 

It's that simple. With that over the past year I have became comfortable in group conversations, increased vocab, learned new grammar, gotten used to hearing other accents, and even picked up some new slang.

Where Next?


This year should be even harder than last. We are not in Asia, and won't spend a significant amount of time in a Mandarin speaking country. I think my study schedule is almost enough. What I will probably need to continue progressing is add in some focused study every week. This means I will probably start taking 1-2 iTalki lessons every week to fill this need.

Starting January, for the next three months my goals are as follows.


I think that I have picked achievable, yet hard tasks. For all three tasks I am accountable in some way or another. With the PAVC I will be accountable to my teacher, and people can check up on my italki profile to see how often I am actually taking lessons.

Alright that is enough rambling from me. Wish me luck, and as always comments are welcome.