Sunday, September 02, 2007

Plans for the Last Lap

It less than 4 months now till touchdown in Beijing and as well as all of the other things that will need organizing, I have to decide how best to spend this remaining time most effectively so that I can hit the ground running. I only have 3 weeks in China and at the end of that time I'll be able to say either 'Yesssss, I did it. It was all worth while' or 'What the hell was the last 2 years study all about?'

My plan is Revision Revision and Revision (the three 'R's).

  1. I will circle back relentlessly over the lessons I have covered in Practice with Vera on Chinesepod, and over any others that I have covered in the past. Exclusively Intermediate.
  2. I will expose myself (nooooo, not thaaaaat way silly) to as many different source of spoken Chinese as possible (I loved this stuff from Chris) including making more of an effort to speak to my Chinese colleagues here at work. And perhaps even do some skype conferences with some fellow CPoders.
  3. Meet up once a week with my teacher and remaining fellow student (if they'll have me) and talk talk talk talk.
Any and all advice on how I should best spend this time would be very welcome.

14 comments:

Chris said...

I have no advice, you are beating me to it (I am trying to angle myself on a business trip to Beijing next April, which would be my first).

Wishing you the best of luck and hoping I can leech some ideas from your experience ;)

Ben said...

Skype is a great tool, but ditch the cPoders. Just look for bona fide Chinese people. Many of them would be stoked to converse with an Irishman in their native language. Another very helpful (yet somewhat annoying) suggestion is to get a QQ account. Everybody...I mean EVERYBODY in China has QQ, and in addition to helping your Chinese, it will greatly expand your Chinese social life.

Benjamin said...

Skype is a great tool, but ditch the cPoders. Just look for bona fide Chinese people. Many of them would be stoked to converse with an Irishman in their native language. Another very helpful (yet somewhat annoying) suggestion is to get a QQ account. Everybody...I mean EVERYBODY in China has QQ, and in addition to helping your Chinese, it will greatly expand your Chinese social life.

liulianxiaoyu said...

Have you decided where to see in China? Is there any chance that you come to Hangzhou City?

:)

Brendan Lawlor said...

Benjamin,
I've never heard of QQ before but I'll check it out, thanks.

Brendan Lawlor said...

liulianxiaoyu,
We absolutely do plan to visit Hangzhou. 我听说杭州非常漂亮。冬天的天气怎么样? Is it a place that we could visit on day trips from Shanghai, or should we transfer to Hangzhou for a couple of days? See you there?!?

jenny said...

Yeah with QQ you will definitely meet a lot of chinese people, especially when you give yourself out as a girl ;) Then just wait a couple of minutes and many people will want to talk to you^^

liulianxiaoyu said...

杭州还可以,比较漂亮,离上海也近。从上海坐特快火车到杭州只需一个小时。

杭州的天气,夏天很热,冬天很冷,但又不像东北那么冷。对南方人来讲,杭州算是比较冷的。可是对我来说(我来自北方),并不觉得很冷,因为杭州很少下雪。所以杭州虽冷,但不至于冷到下雪的程度。

杭州很有名,主要是因为西湖。西湖很大,要看的话,大概需要一天的时间。再花一两天时间看看其它地方,就差不多了。上次我带朋友花了一天的时间去了灵瘾寺,梅家坞(农家菜),竹林小径,又去了西湖龙井(茶)村买茶叶,之后又去买了丝绸。听说河坊街也不错,可是上次我没有时间去。其它的还有一些景点,我都没有去过。我觉得在杭州呆二天或三天就可以了。

我每次去杭州基本上都是为了办事情,如果办完事情还有时间的话,会去西湖看看。其它地方也很少去过呢。

我在温州上班,坐汽车去杭州大概要4个小时。如果你到杭州的话,我们可以见一面,呵呵。

liulianxiaoyu said...

jenny 说的不错,在中国几乎每个人至少有一个QQ号。可是,我觉得如果为了练习中文的话,用QQ找人聊天可能会让人觉得浪费时间,因为想要找一个可以聊天的人并不容易。我的QQ号主要是用来进行工作上的联系,或者跟同学和熟悉的朋友聊天,不认识的人几乎不聊。

我觉得Skype可能会比QQ稍好一些。

这是我的一点儿看法,供你参考。

Brendan Lawlor said...

Jenny,
I think I'll give QQ a miss :-).

I really like your blog by the way. The chengyu are very helpful and interesting (I haven't a hope of remembering them of course :-)

Brendan Lawlor said...

liulianxiaoyu,
Thanks for some great info. It looks much further away than 1 hour, so that's really good news. We can set up base camp in Shanghai and do at least one if not two day trips to Hangzhou.
I'll drop you a line when we're in Shanghai and if you have time (only if you have time - I don't want to put you under pressure) let's meet up!

liulianxiaoyu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brendan said...

The best thing I ever did for my conversational Chinese was right after I first got here in 2002: I got myself lost on trains for five weeks. It forced me, on my own, to use Mandarin to negotiate the ins and outs of the travel system --and then, once I was on it, into conversations with people. The trick is always to get yourself into situations where you cannot possibly resort to English. You'll find that you're much better than you think: when you have a limited amount of vocabulary cards, you've got to play all of them!

And of course, when you're in Beijing, give us a shout. Drinks are on me, and we can do the whole thing in Chinese if you want to be immersed.

Brendan Lawlor said...

Brendan,
You can count on it. I'll look you up when you we get there. My email address is [myfirstname].[mylastname]@gmail.com. Let me know what the best way to contact you is.

I like your technique. It's the "fling yourself to the far side of the pizza and eat your way out" approach. I think the probability of my losing myself (and my wife and kids) is high enough by pure happenstance, that I'm not going to have to try awfully hard to do it on purpose.