This coming week is my midterm week.
My hardest exam - grammar/reading/writing is tomorrow at 9am.
I'm more nervous for this test than any test I can remember, (besides my masters thesis experience, that stands alone).
I've spent the last few days trying to detach my emotions from Chi.nese but it just doesn't work like that. Learning Chin.ese is emotional. It's survival. It's status. It's the difference between ordering dinner and telling directions to a taxi driver to going hungry and getting lost. I'm surrounded by it every day. I can't turn my ears off.
In the last 2 years I have had a metaphorical bag of Chinese. As I interacted, I would shake my bag of words out and Chinese people would have to put together the meaning. Now, I am learning in a classroom and the pressure is intense. My bag of tricks doesn't cut it any more.
I am facing up to my illiteracy. I am learning to read and write. And it terrifies me. I shake and sweat in class when we go around the room reading. I panic when I am asked to read something. For 2 years I have ignored Chinese characters and now I could kick myself in the butt for it.
But Chi.nese is not my self-worth.
Repeat after me: It's just a language. It's just a midterm. It's just a language. It's just a midterm. It's just a language. It's just a midterm.
And - these crazies (and by crazies, I mean the gov.) are paying me to be here. So technically, I get paid to take this test.
There, I feel better now.
Wanna know what learning to write Chin.ese looks like?...
A whole lotta this:
That paper basically says:
"I study Chinese" "I like to eat apples" "have have have have have have" "want want want want" "expensive cheap expensive cheap" "light heavy light heavy light heavy" "know think feel know think feel know think feel."
I feel like I'm learning to write "caveman."
A fun fact someone told me that I have no factual data on: Only .4% of non-Asian Americans can speak Chin.ese.
Make that, .4% +1.
See you on the other side of this test...