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Learning Chinese

When You’re Really, Truly, “The Foreigner”

Let’s talk about speaking Chinese. These days about 70% of my life is lived totally in Chinese with people that can’t speak English. (Take my classes out of the equation and you get closer to 90%.) I am not a natural language learner. In fact, I would say I was below average. I have no … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Learning Chinese, Traveling | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Thousand Character Chinese Classic

Like I do at the end of every year, I have my students in speaking class become teachers. Their final exam is to “teach class” for 15 minutes. (Not a presentation, but actually teach.) This is always super fun. Students freak out when I assign it to them, but then they quickly realize class is … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Chinese Culture, Learning Chinese, Teaching English | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What it’s Like Taking a Intensive Chinese Class

So I just got back from a four-week intensive Chinese class, the second time I’ve taken one of these, and for those of you who are thinking of doing the same thing, I thought I’d write about my experience so you can decide for yourself. Four years ago I was a student at Keats School, … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Chinese Culture, Learning Chinese, Traveling | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Back from the Month-Long Paradise of Yangshuo, China

So I’m back from my summer holidays, and like always it went by so fast. (How can people even stand a week-long holiday? That must be over in a blink.) I was in the small village of Yangshuo in Guangxi which is in southern China, studying Chinese. I’ll write another post about what it is … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Learning Chinese, Traveling | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Class is Over, Time to Hit the Road

Final exams have been given, grades submitted, and lots of selfies with students have been taken. The semester, and subsequently the school year, is finished! Boom. Add another notch to the belt. Year seven complete. So what to do now with my 2 months of freedom? Well, when you live in the Miami of China, … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Learning Chinese, Traveling | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Let’s Get Something Straight (aka: what I like about China)

So, just for the record, I want to get something off my chest. I tend to be a positive person. My general life philosophy is keep the good things close, and ruthlessly cut out the bad. (I’m said I’m positive, not kind-hearted.) I maintain this attitude in all aspects of life: guys, job, hobbies, friends. And … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Dating, Learning Chinese, Traveling | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Untangling the Complex Chinese Term “Laowai”

One of the first terms that every foreigner learns after landing in china is 老外 laowai, which means, essentially, foreigner. Even if a foreigner eschews every single other chinese word, they cannot avoid this one. That’s because it is hurled around so much whenever a foreigner is around, you cannot help but notice it, and, over … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Chinese Culture, Learning Chinese | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

The Friendly Way to Call Other People in China

On Facebook I recently linked to a Ted.com article about how speaking different languages affect your brain. In the article they use an example of Mandarin and how people address the family. In China there is no generic grandma, grandpa, uncle etc. Instead every person has a different name based on their relationship to you. … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Chinese Culture, Learning Chinese | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

You’re on Color! (Our new bet)

A few months ago, I said that my best friend Color won a bet we had started almost two years prior. (My punishment is going to be that I have to cook thai food for him. It could have been worse!) A few years is a long time to continue a bet, but now we … Continue reading »

Categories: China, Learning Chinese | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Learning English by Using Chinese

My little hairdresser was looking at my Chinese textbook the other day, and noticed that I had written pinyin (or the alphabet version of the words pronunciation) under the chinese characters so I could pronounce them. “You know, I used to do this with my English homework,” he said. “What, write pinyin?” I asked. “No, … Continue reading »

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