Chinese lessons have finally begun. After delaying my start, then organizing a time and date (which was then cancelled), I have now confirmed a time to do the lessons: Wednesday from 13:00-15:00 and Thursday from 16:00-17:00, right after I exercise at the gym and finishing just before class.
Today, after getting a haircut and purchasing a lock for my scooter, I went for brunch (waffles, fruit and ice cream). My school provides the lessons at another "franchise" location of the school, in the heart of Tianjin.
It was nice seeing the location where many of my friends work, although none were present given the time (during the week, we only have class from 6:30-8).
The teacher started reviewing a few words, such as when someone knocks on the door and I had to ask "who is it". Next, were the days of the week, and how to say phrases such as "tomorrow is ____", and "today is _____".
Admittedly, I would have liked to been taught a little curriculum. Something with structure such as learning the rough grammar of Chinese, the different tones, and so on. As nice as it is having free reign of what I learn, I'm afraid of missing something important but not knowing what it is and thus not requesting it. I suppose this would be the equivalent of FOMO for me.
Today's class was two hours long. There were many terms reviewed, and I feel my pronunciation was pretty good. It was apparent to me the difference in trying to speak the language slowly and carefully, while pronouncing each syllable versus simply saying the world and thinking how locals say things. I observed I tended to get more phrases/words correct by not over thinking it and simply saying them as I hear locals talk. This made pronunciation much easier.
It'll be fun learning things like counting/dealing with money, basic introduction communication and whatever other topics I can bring up, as the weeks pass along. You know you have game when you can be wheeling people in multiple languages ;)
Having said all this, I now have a added appreciation for my kids at school when they are learning English. It takes regular effort and work! After class, I noticed I could feel my brain differently than when I watch TV, read, or have really good conversation with someone.
Obviously different types of content/material is working the brain in various regions. This would presumably result in the differing content being stored in associated regions respectful of the content. Ie. Learning a language, and remembering such information is likely stored in a different place than a vacation memory or reading a book. Part of me is excited to learn the language, another part of me wishes I could download it to my brain, like a podcast off iTunes and know it (I'm sure this will be available in my lifetime).