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How I'm Learning Chinese

I've been studying Chinese for 7 months now and it's been an amazing journey so far! I've gone from knowing basic words like 你好 (nǐhǎo), which just means hello, to making long sentences with correct grammar. My situation is different now because I'm in class 5 days a week, compared to when I was learning Korean by myself at home.

Back then, I studied languages because I liked it, but now I'm studying it because this summer I have my final exams, then I can start my major! With that in mind, the way I'm studying Chinese isn't necessarily the same as others studying a language but some things are the same anyway!

This semester, class is early in the morning, and on Tuesdays it's in the afternoon. We learn around 30 new words each lesson, how to write them, their meanings and how to use the word correctly. 

This semester I'm taking Spoken Chinese, Comprehensive Chinese, and Chinese Listening, and it's around 30 words per lesson. Once a week we have dictations, where the teacher will call out the word, we write it down and hand the whole test in for marking. We also get given homework everyday and it's a pain to finish when I wanna go out and do other things hehe.

Homework is usually to answer questions from our textbooks, write paragraphs using the grammar we learned, or to write the Hanzi (Chinese character) out stroke by stroke.

When I'm done with my homework, I then start studying previous lessons Hanzi and go over them at least four times, and I do this everyday. 

To practise my reading, I read and re-read texts in the textbook, song lyrics, and subtitles on Chinese vloggers YouTube videos or in shows or films. To get better at listening I listen to songs (which is my favorite way to practise!), and I also use audio files sent in our class group chat. For speaking, living in China is practise enough!

Sometimes if there's something my teacher said that I just can't understand, or the textbook doesn't help either, I turn to YouTube channels to help me out! This has been happening more frequently this semester because the classes are more in-depth, but after one video I can get the hang of how to use that word or that grammar just fine! Let me know if you're curious about which channels I love on YouTube!

Everyday, I also head to a study group with my friends. We've kept it relatively small, and we spend a couple of hours going over HSK material. HSK is the Chinese proficiency exam we have to take at the end of this semester, and it's super important we pass because only then can we begin studying our majors! It's a nationwide exam that all foreign students take in China to test their level of Chinese. Since we really can't afford to fail this exam, we've taken it upon ourselves to study all the HSK content we can before our exam in June.

Other than that, I also chat to my Chinese friends using only Chinese. I've got a friend from back home in England who I chat to everyday and she helps me correct grammar or make my sentences sound more natural, and I'm so grateful for her! Regular conversations we'd be having in English just this time last year are now in Chinese, which I think is pretty cool.

People tend think learning Chinese is impossible, or any Asian language for that matter, but it's not true! I think if you have the passion for it, you can learn any language in the world; you just have to push yourself to do well. 

I was definitely afraid in my first class but now I get excited to head to class and learn even more because I have a genuine interest in it!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I'll see you in the next one!

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging

I've been blogging for around a year and some months, and when I first started fleshing out ideas for this blog, there were certain things I just didn't know that I wish I did back then.

That being said, had I known then what I know now, I still would have started my blog! It's been an amazing way to get my thoughts out there while discovering some amazing people at the same time and I love that my life decided to take me in this direction. 

The first thing I wish I knew was how time consuming this whole thing would be. Back when I was living in England, I was on my gap year so I had all the time in the world. I only got to know how stressful it could get when I was busy that day and couldn't dedicate 100% of my time. Moving to Zambia, I had relatives to meet and places to see and this is when I was thrown in the deep end. Now I'm in uni, finding time to juggle everything is only possible by keeping myself organised.

If I manage to stay on top of everything, I'm able to breathe and not freak out but the amount of time it takes for writing, driving traffic to the blog, and other things is huge and I wish I had known that.

The next thing I wish I knew was how people you know in real life will be supportive about it! I was so scared to share this with people I knew in real life but once I shared it with a friend, I received such lovely feedback and I didn't know I would!

Now, my blog link is in all my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts and if anyone wants to have a look, they can! (Checking analytics, I can see that quite a few do, which just blows my mind). I've also had a few friends follow my blog Instagram and it's so heartwarming to get feedback and support from them. 

Had I known this, I would have told people much sooner!

Thirdly, I wish I knew that photography is something to work hard at, again and again.

The standard for blog photos has me stumped because I just can't seem to take aesthetic enough photos for posts. 

Now, I'm looking to improve my photography through Instagram, and this includes the type of photos and editing too. I take advantage of sunny days and free time to improve my photography.

I thought it'd be easy to snap a picture of anything and have it look good but that's not the case!

Another thing I wish I knew is how difficult and intimidating navigating through the blogging community is.

As a small blogger, attempting to talk to another blogger makes me so nervous and so many thoughts go through my head beforehand and I unfortunately talk myself out of it a lot of the time.

I've gotten better than I was before; I can shoot someone an Instagram DM or respond to their tweet without too much of a heart attack, but I definitely wish I was much better at it. It looked so easy from the outside looking in but now I'm in and I see how scary it is!

Finally, the last thing I wish I knew before I started blogging is that completion is better than perfection, and starting is better than nothing.

Sometimes I think about a post I've drafted so much I can talk myself out of publishing it. But, for something to improve, you have to first begin working on it otherwise it'll remain in that state you don't want it to be in anyway!

This fear of wanting everything to be perfect is something I'm working on because it can just leave you not growing and in the same position you were in weeks or months ago. 

We've all heard "perfection doesn't exist" a million times, but it's true! Just get on with that thing that you're afraid of ending up less than perfect, whether it's starting a YouTube channel, writing an essay, or cooking a meal you've been really wanting to.

Those are 5 things I wish I knew before I started blogging, and like I said, even if I knew them all before, I still would have started my blog 100%. 

What are some things you wish you knew before you started your blog?

My Personal Fashion Rules

I'm definitely not a fashion blogger, and I think I can just about manage to get myself looking put together on a daily basis. Even though fashion just isn't on my radar, I have some personal 'rules' that I follow when I'm putting together an outfit in the morning.

I say 'rules' because I don't think you should limit your fashion choices or or feel like you should wear what you're expected to. I'm not here to be some type of fashion police, which is why I'm sharing my personal rules!

Comfort Over Everything
I value my comfort much more than how I look, and that's why my 99% of the time, I'm in a pair of jeans and trainers and a top that fits the weather. I'm a student and living in a new country, so I'm usually running around either to class early in the morning, or wanting to explore the city. 

If what I'm wearing isn't comfortable, I will swap it for something that is, and when I'm shopping I keep this in mind too. 

Not to say that I don't wear something just for the aesthetic of it but those occasions are few and far between!

Subtle Accessories
When I want to take my basic outfit to level two, I add a few accessories. I prefer subtle jewellery and a simple watch but depending on how I feel, a necklace and the type of bag I'm carrying will change the look.

I love love love rings and I'm almost always wearing a few on my hands. Paired with a simple watch, I can have a pretty nice looking outfit overall (at least I think so anyway!).

Layer Up
Another thing I love doing is to layer up my clothing. In winter it's my absolute go-to because when I go from outside where it's cold to indoors where it's warm, I can just shed a few layers, and vice versa.

Finally, I like to wear opposites as in, if I'm wearing something baggy on top, I wear skinny jeans, or if I'm wearing a flowy skirt, I wear a more fitted top. It makes me look much more put together.

I just think wearing clothing that's both baggy or both tight doesn't look good on my 5' 2" self. I've seen some people rock flowy skirts and baggy jumpers and they make it work but for me, it just doesn't work!

As I said above, I'm definitely not a fashion person (hence why this is such a short post hehe) but I do have some steps I take to make myself look a little bit better.

What are your personal fashion rules?

I'll see you in the next one!