Stretching and Challenging- my personal journey


When you get a little older it becomes harder to learn. I look at my three year old daughter quite happy to talk to me in English and to my wife in Chinese and I can only wonder at how amazing she is. My other daughter who is 17, is also pretty fluent now in English (I met and married her Mum when she was 10). She found English hard  but being moved to a school where everything was taught in English and having two new big brothers who were native English speakers encouraged her to put the work in, and again she is much more fluent than I ever will be in a language not my own.

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When I met my wife she couldn't speak any English and I couldn't speak any Chinese. But because we found each other attractive we started to learn. Min still finds English hard but she read it ok and is getting better at listening and speaking too. As for me... well it is difficult. Being slightly deaf has it's challenges when learning a tonal language, but the more I listen the more I understand. 

To give you an example take the word ma (马)This can be pronounced in 5 different ways: mā (a high level tone), má (a high, rising tone) mǎ (a falling, then rising tone), ma (a falling tone) and ma (neutral tone).

Each of these words mean different things including mum, a horse, to scold,  and even to indicate a question,

So Chinese is challenging to say the least. But not understanding when people talk to you, or when you are watching television, not being able to ask where the toilet is? or how much this amazing computer is? is really hard. Having no idea which restaurant is which because the names are in hanzi and you can't read the characters is also difficult. So, I started to learn. 

Currently I am studying HSK3, where all the writing and instructions are written and spoken in Chinese with no pinyin (a phonetic system used to teach children and foreigners how to speak Chinese). I finished the course yesterday and have arranged to apply for a place at the next test in May. There's only 5 spaces in Shanghai next month so there is no guarantee I will get in. It's been incredibly difficult and I think there are about 50-60 characters that I still can't remember when I try to read them but I'm getting there. I need to speak more in Chinese too- it's incredibly easy to be lazy and just speak in English when your wife always tries to speak in English too to get her language skills better. I'm also a little shy as well when it comes to speaking Chinese, especially when people just look blankly at you when you have tried your best. (At one of my speeches to 300 or so parents I tried to say "Hello, my name is ..." My colleague who was translating for me, looked at me and then translated what I had said in Chinese to the parents. Not the best of starts and did little for my confidence right at that very beginning!)

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As you can see my life is pretty busy at the moment with work, studying, building a website, a Youtube channel and also a blog, as well as being a Dad and crypto newbie. But I am enjoying it and I know if I didn't try and do these things I would regret it. I already regret not researching crypto earlier on but my focus a few years ago was studying an MBA and with everything else I put crypto on the back burner. Bitcoin wasn't worth very much and was still a bit of a novelty. Well I have earned my lesson and rather than putting things off I try and do the best I can to integrate everything, with the one goal in mind of securing a happy and comfortable retirement so I can continue to devote time to my family.

What goals have you set yourself? Can you speak more than one language? Any advice on writing a blog, building a website and Youtube channel would be gratefully received as well as advice on potential long term investments in crypto.

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Relax,Meditate or Sleep
Relax,Meditate or Sleep

Educator and content developer- started a YouTube channel and created a website devoted to self-improvement- helping people to learn to relax, to learn how to meditate and how to sleep if they are having trouble doing that.


Relax, Meditate or Sleep with Crypto Dad
Relax, Meditate or Sleep with Crypto Dad

A blog about my journey in understanding crypto currency, coupled with my interests of relaxation, meditation and sleep. Will also be talking about the trials and tribulations, (as well as the benefits) of being a Westerner living in Shanghai, China

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