Thank you, everyone, for your prayers these past few days. I have started my Chinese class, and I feel more motivated than I have ever felt. Since I've joined this class, I've had many opportunities to meet people from all over the world (we have people from France, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and America in my class), and it's nice to be able to encourage them. I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but when I took my placement test for this class, I fell somewhere between the first and second level. Basically, my listening and speaking were closer to the second level (having a husband fluent in Chinese has helped), but my reading and writing were more in the first. Those characters are difficult! Also, I'm quite adept at pinyin but an absolute dunce with MPS. And just my luck, MPS is the system that Taiwan uses, so I have to learn it. Just in this case, I wish that Taiwan could just be like the rest of the world and use pinyin! Anyway, because of all of these factors, I decided to start from the first level. A little review never hurt anyone, right? Our teacher can't really speak any English, and because my Chinese ability is slightly higher (and I'm sure that won't last long) than my classmates, I'm able to help them out a lot and encourage them. Our teacher is nice, but I can tell she's nervous (being a teacher myself and all). She doesn't quite know what to do with us low-level Chinese speakers. When she wrote the characters on the board, she just threw them up there very quickly without explaining the stroke order (very important in order for the character to end up looking the way it should). I get the feeling that we're supposed to work on our writing more at home anyway, which is fine for me because my husband can review everything with me. But some of the other students expressed a bit of concern, but were unable to describe what they were feeling to the teacher. I didn't want to offend her, but as a teacher I know that it's annoying when students begin complaining to the head office before simply asking you to change something directly first (this happens quite a bit in Taiwan where people aren't direct). So I stayed after class and asked her, in my broken Chinese, to write one stroke and then wait a minute or two for us to write it before she goes on to the next. She was very nice and apologetic, and said that she simply forgets how hard it is. Wow, it was as simple as that!
Again, thank you so much for your prayers! I'm amazed at just how powerful prayer is sometimes -- although I should be used to it by now. I think I also have good news about a new job for Ian (my husband), but will refrain from sharing it until we're 100% sure of it. Please continue to pray for me to be motivated to learn Chinese. I feel kind of bad asking everyone to do this for me (I know you're all busy), but I won't succeed without God's help.
I'm still getting used to my new schedule. If any of you pay attention to the time that I usually post at, you'll know that I'm a HUGE night owl! I need to be more disciplined with this and go to bed earlier. My life is getting pretty busy with Chinese study, and I know that I need to start taking care of this body that God gave me and get up earlier to exercise. The only days where I have a big block of free time are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so I'll be saving up all of my ideas and only posting on those days from now on (I cheated a little tonight). I don't want to give up blogging, as I've met so many new friends and have been blessed by it so much. Also, it's a great way for my family to keep track of what I'm doing. But from here on out, you'll probably get a lot of posts all in those three days. I probably will only be able to comment on other people's blogs in those three days too. Okay, this is getting boring and overly informative. I'll see you all on Friday! =)