Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thoughts on Departure Day

One of my friends always tells me that "a smart rabbit has 3 holes," referring to my 3-homed life that I live at the moment. Today, the time has come again to make my trip from one home (Shanghai) to another (Singapore). I'll be heading back to Singapore, but as it turns out, it is going to be a shorter stay in that home than I expected. I've got to head to my third home on the other side of the globe within the next week or so, and so will be away from Singapore for a little longer than expected.

The stay in Shanghai this time around has been fun and profitable. I feel like my language skills advanced much more on this stay than I first thought they would. I've gotten to read a lot of Chinese poetry with my teacher, and gotten my feet wet with classical Chinese language. I can remember a day about 16 years ago when I told some friends that I'd like to learn the language to the level that I could read the literature in the original language. The two responded differently, one merely laughing, and the other saying very coolly, "That's ambitious." It was rather deflating, as I was just beginning to study the language then.

Well, here I am 16 years into my studies, and I still have not quite achieved that level of reading. But at least now, that goal is in sight. I am not there, but I am getting there. And I am very pleased that I have begun dabbling with translating Chinese poetry too, with varying degrees of success.

I'm presently planning my next stay in Shanghai to be sometime shortly after Chinese New Year. I'll do more language studies then, and probably sit for the HSK exam in May. My teacher thinks I could already pass level 8 with a good score, and probably achieve passing marks on level 9 too. I plan to put in a good deal of effort over the next 6 months and get to a place where I can actually manage a good score on level 9 by May 2009. (There, I said it... I guess that makes it official.) If I achieve that, I will be very, very pleased.

Looking back over the past year of splitting my time between Singapore and Shanghai, I have to say it has been time well spent, and a very good experience for me over all. I am very thankful I have been able to do this — it is something that seemed so unattainable at one time, but turned out to be so natural when the time arrived and it was done.

Funny how life works out that way, isn't it?




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2 comments:

silken said...

good for you and I know you'll do well!

hifidel said...

thanks silken! i think you have more confidence in me than i do!