What is a route of listeners? It is a route that I visit each week to practice speaking Chinese. These people didn’t sign up to listen to me but are people that I have just met since we have been here. I don’t even know most of their names (mainly because Chinese names are as hard as, well, Chinese) but they are people who seem willing to listen and respond as I attempt to speak their language.
Let me introduce you to my current route of listeners.
First, I visit the little store on the first floor of our building. Usually there is an old man there who seems glad to listen to me as I read my sentences of the day. I attempt to make conversation by asking questions.
Next, I move on to the next store in our complex. This is run by a young married couple, who come to find out are the same age as me and my lovely wife (that is if my Chinese is right). They seem to gladly except me as well and are willing to speak while they work.
Then, on to the fruit and vegetable market! This is a store on the outside of our complex and has a bunch of workers. I think it is a family run business, because there are a lot of teenage girls and a few older people. Here I spend a little more time, usually because I can speak with one person, switch to another and end up talking to the meat lady behind the counter who is actually really helpful and willing to teach me new words.
Cross the street, almost get hit by a car, and you end up at another little store. I have only been here a couple times and it has been a different person each time. Though the first time I was there I received a free green tea!
Finally, I end up at a restaurant where I quickly go in and say a few sentences to the waiter/waitresses (who are familiar with me from eating there and “trying” to order) and leave fairly quickly because many times they are busy.
The end. Back to the house I go. That is what my current route of listeners looks like. I do try to purchase items at these stores and/or eat at the restaurant throughout the week in order to keep the door of communication open. Also, it took awhile for everyone to get warmed up to me and figure what I wanted to do (practice speaking) but now when I go in everyone knows the drill, in which, I am thankful!