On the 49th day after arriving in China we officially started language school. I was hoping to start sooner but at least everything is still going according to plan (as we originally wanted to start mid September – beginning of October, depending on how long setup took).
Now that we have completed our first week of language school, I can officially say that Chinese is hard (that was expected)! It is going to be a long and tedious process. Tones and characters are so foreign to us. Perfection seems impossible. Though we are excited and encouraged to be working harder than ever to learn this language so we can minister to this people and make the name of Jesus known.
So what do you do all day? What is a normal day like? Well I am glad that you asked. Since we are in language school most of our time is spent learning. Tuesday through Saturday we are in language school from 8-12 and then I try to spend from 2-6 practicing. (If you can imagine a kid who is in elementary school and how much he can speak, we are…well…not in elementary school yet! Let’s just put it that way).
Each class consist of going through that days lesson and us speaking about 80% of the time (we each have an individual teacher). Since our course is primary a speaking course usually my jaw is sore by the end of class from using different muscles, my throat is swollen (well feels that way), and voice is hoarse. But progress is made!
Some other things that are on the agenda is to memorize Bible verses and learn songs from Church each week, as well as, read the Bible every day and learn how to pray (all in Chinese of course).
I am taking a one year fast from English music, TV, movies, podcast etc. (except for our day off) as we are in the beginning learning stages and listen and/or watch an hour of Chinese everyday. Also, I will be putting most of my reading in English on hold, as most of our time is taken with language study/practice and start reading in Chinese as soon as I can.
Added to this schedule we go to church at least three times a week, which is another opportunity for us to learn.
Your continued prayers are appreciated as we learn to listen, speak, read, and write all over again!