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Finally, Grandma goes back to school...

SallyBR1's picture

well, not really a grandma yet, but this week I started my Chinese classes at the university. Me and 25 freshmen, most of them very shy and reserved.

interesting experience so far....

Daily classes, at lunchtime. The teacher is absolutely great - I am taking the beginner's class, for those who have zero knowledge of Chinese. From the looks of it, I'll be cruising along for the first month without learning anything new. But I did not want to join the level II, it would probably be too hard. GOing through the basics with a real teacher makes all the difference: I'm already aware of some mistakes in my pronunciation.

it's been decades since I had "homework" :-)

edited for typo

I might be a lousy gardener, a horrible cake baker, but I can do a mean verrine!

(soupereasy, June 2007)


Edited 8/24/2007 7:06 am by SallyBR1

Jean's picture

You're incredible.



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
AnnL's picture

You really are amazing.  You decide you're going to learn something (and you don't pick easy things!) and you do it! 

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

msm-s's picture

my brain is no longer maleable enough to learn an easy language, let along chinese. brava!

growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.

gmunger's picture

Good for you!


I returned to college as an "adult" several years back. It was such a great experience. I had such a greater appreciation for the learning process. I asked lots of questions. Even challenged the professor on occasion. Of course all the "kids" looked at me as if I were a freak, and I'm sure many wished I would just shut up. But I found the professors actually adored students who were engaged, even if they were being challenged.


Enjoy!

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
CookiM0nster's picture

Yes, we love students like you. It shows us you're actually thinking about what you're learning instead of just memorizing it. You keep us on our toes.

gmunger's picture

And sometimes when we speak too quickly without thinking first, we make you look good too.


LOL!

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
samchang's picture

>Yes, we love students like you. It shows us you're actually thinking about what you're learning instead of just memorizing it. You keep us on our toes.<

Indeed we do!

This semester I'll be teaching bioethics for adult MSN students who average probably 30 years of age. I'll also be teaching logic to another group of adult nursing students. They are so much more funadn rewarding to teach.

Go, Sally, go!

Canuck's picture

I remember having a couple of "grownups" in my postsecondary years. They were by far the best students. They made it clear that they realized how much schooling was costing them (in terms of income forfeited) and worked very hard. They were great examples to the rest of us. I never wanted them to shut up.

SallyBR1's picture

I am sure they are quite puzzled by my presence - whet IS this old freak doing here? :-)

one major difference I see - back home, people choose their majors from the get go. So you need to do the exact same classes from they one until the end, with only a small proportion of special courses that are "extras". They make up maybe 20% of total credits, and students pick the ones that they want to attend. But those come only after the second year.

that means that we were together from 8AM to 6PM daily - and had lunch together in campus too. Bonds were formed quickly.

it seems to me that here is a little different - because the students pick different classes to fill their schedule, they might see the same people only once per week, for 1 hour max. They don t seem to interact the same way, everybody is much more reserved

Maybe this is not accurate - who knows, folks who pick Chinese to start college might be a little "special" :-)

 


 


I might be a lousy gardener, a horrible cake baker, but I can do a mean verrine!

(soupereasy, June 2007)

Marie Louise's picture

Re: you and 25 freshmen...

As most of you know, I went back & did post-graduate work at UCSF's nursing school a few years ago. Most of the students there are in their 30s, maybe early 40s, and of course the medical students/ residents are in their 20s. People always thought I was a professor. It was hysterical-they gestured for me to get into the elevator first, insisted I go in front of them in line to pay, etc. I audited a weekly undergraduate pharmacology class, quietly sitting in the back of a large lecture hall, and one day the students told me they assumed I was there evaluating the professor, LOL.

I tried to dress really casually, but no matter what I did, I just didn't look like a student.

gmunger's picture

One thing I found amusing about my experience....my major prof in grad school was a few years younger than I. We got along very well, but we had some different views about things, especially politics. And we had some knock-down drag-outs at times. All good-natured, of course. And in matters scientific where I knew he was way ahead of me, I was deferrent.  But even in this realm, I wasn't afraid to question, if I saw what appeared to me a contradiction or ambiguity. This is healthy, especially in science, no? And the major prof liked it (although he called me a commie sometimes).]


The other grad students, who were fresh from undergrad, looked upon this with a mixture of horror and fascination. Like an accident scene. They were afraid to ask questions, let alone offer that the man might actually be wrong. And yet, when it was just us, they were quick to offer frustration that they didn't understand something. When I suggested they needed to speak up more, they usually just nodded and averted their eyes.


All of this leads me to think that not everyone should go right into college after high school. And many grad students would benefit from getting some "real world" experience before they embark on grad school. I learned a lot about life during my traditional college years. But it was at the cost of wasted time and money, and an awful transcript that never goes away. And I had nowhere near the appreciation for the academic experience that I had when I was a "nontraditional" student years later. I needed to grow up some more first. So why not first spend some time learning about the value of things like work, knowledge, time, thrift, respect, etc? I really believe delaying college would have been a smart move for me. Something for parents to think about....

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
Jean's picture

And what do they do in the meantime? Flip burgers?--if they can even find a job like that?  DGS solved his problem by enlisting in the Marines, just yesterday. He's 21 and trying to avoid college loans and paying room and board at home.  He emailed this news to me just last night. Wanted me to hear it first-hand. Bless him.


Sorry for the hijack, Sally.




Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
gmunger's picture

Great point Jean. There were certainly more opportunities for me at that time than there are now. I suppose it helps to be willing to relocate to where the opportunities are. But not every 18-year-old is willing, let alone capable, of leaving behind their support system for a foray into the unknown.


The military used to be a good option. I'm not so sure these days.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
Jean's picture

Right. I just have to concentrate on the numbers that are NOT becoming statistics. DH had put in his time when he was the age DGS is now. It made a man of him--there is something to be said for the draft as opposed to an all volunteer military. (which we tend to forget is the case today)



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Adele's picture

Congratulations to your Grandson!   I hope his signing on included technical or special schooling.   I'm sure things have changed since I was in, but he will have the ability to go to college, his room and board will be free, as well as all medical and dental.  Being a bit older hopefully he won't spend all his money on wine and women!  LOL


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Jean's picture

Yes, that was part of the attraction, along with the free room and board that was getting yanked from under him. LOL. No more free ride is a great wake-up call. His Dad was in the Marines during the Nam era. Flew as navigator on C130s. So I'm assuming he's not laboring under any delusions of continuing to sleep until noon when he feels like it. He IS a really good guy!



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
MadMom's picture

Give him a big hug for me.  I'm of the old school, and I still think the military is the most honorable career a man (or woman) can choose.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

MadMom's picture

Good to see some decent people (and since he's your DGS, I'm assuming he HAS to be decent!) volunteering.  The all-volunteer force is a wonderful idea, but these days it is stretched so thin that the military is taking drug users, felons, you name it.  We either should reinstitute the draft or stop the farce that we have a volunteer army.  Some people have no choice.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

gmunger's picture

Good to see some decent people (and since he's your DGS, I'm assuming he HAS to be decent!) volunteering.


Ditto from me. While I'm not personally too sanguine about the military these days, my impression is that it is an organization where cream has a good chance of rising to the top.

 

We are truly what we eat, and too many people are fast, cheap and easy. Who owns your food owns you, and it is unwise to let that power rest in the hands of a very few wealthy corporations.
mulch52's picture

Congratulations to your DGS, Jean!  [only one Marine in my family]

SallyBR1's picture

disclaimer: do not read this if you are tired of my Chinese mumblings

You have been warned!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This week we are working on a lesson about phone calls - the teacher decided to give us a little assignment. We were supposed to call her in her office and say something to her, anything we wanted, have a little conversation

SHe said we could call her any day this week from 10:30am to 11:30am -

I wanted to get rid of the assignment quickly so I would not have to worry about it for the whole week. Next morning, I went for a run very early and used the run to think about what to say.... :-) Not that easy, with the limited vocabulary we have, but finally I decided to tell her that I will have to miss a couple of lectures next month because of a meeting.

Prepared my little text, practiced a few times, and 10:35hs I called her. My heart racing, hoping she would not pick up the phone, but she did, and I almost passed out

Now, get this - because I was the first to call, and so early, she completely forgot about the assignment, so instead of using the words we would expect to hear, she took off blasting in Chinese at 100mph, and I was paralyzed! Could not even mumble a single word, in any language whatsoever! :-)

It turned out she thought it was a Chinese friend of her calling about an appointment they had later in the day - THEN she remembered the assignment and figured out it was one of her students - she apologized profusely (in English, thank GOD) -

and said, let's go from the beginning.... HELLO, who is speaking? :-)

It was fun, and a very good exercise - it is a lot harder to communicate when you cannot see the person face to face. She is a fantastic teacher, I am so lucky to be in her class

 


 


It is not gremolita, it is GREMOLATA!!!!

(October 2007)

Jean's picture

You continue to amaze me on sooo many levels. Good for you.



Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
AnnL's picture

That's what you get for being the first, eh?  Too funny.  So, how did you do once you got your composure back? 

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

SallyBR1's picture

:-)

after I gained back my composure everything went fine - at least she understood what I wanted to say and I "think" she said "thanks for letting me know" (I am not positive, but seemed close enough... :-)

she then took pity on me and switched back to English.

side note, little info about the language that drives every student nuts: in English, if we want to say I will do something after 5pm, we say "after 5pm"

in Chinese they put the after - after!!!!

so it goes "I will do something 5pm after". Or "5pm before".

or "I go to see you when I have dinner after"

talk about giving the brains a workout! Everybody HATES that... :-)

I wonder if any other language works this way, it seems so counter intuitive, but maybe it's just because I grew up using a different perspective

 


 


It is not gremolita, it is GREMOLATA!!!!

(October 2007)

AnnL's picture

Aaah, I used to work with a couple of guys that were from China.  Now their speech pattern (putting the "after" after)  makes sense.  Thanks.

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

SallyBR1's picture

A lot of things started to make sense to me once I started taking lessons

they confuse "he" with "she" all the time - in the spoken Chinese there is no difference, male and female are all addressed the same way, only the written form is different

they do not use articles - so using "the" before nouns is tricky for them. Usually only Chinese people who have been in the US for many years get the hang of it.

and, their verbs don t change in the past tense either - again, makes it very hard for Chinese people to learn the proper way to say stuff, especially when you go into those "I would have done this if you had done that" etc etc

It is all fascinating, don t you think?

:-)

now of course, they could have a MUCH longer list of the mistakes foreigners make when they try to learn Chinese

 


 


It is not gremolita, it is GREMOLATA!!!!

(October 2007)

AnnL's picture

now of course, they could have a MUCH longer list of the mistakes foreigners make when they try to learn Chinese


Oh, I'm sure!


Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

Ann
"The elders were wise.  They knew that man's heart, away from nature, becomes hard; they knew that lack of respect for growing, living things, soon led to lack of respect for humans, too."  Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota Sioux

paretsky's picture

I remember when I was studying classical Latin and Greek, some of the linguistic constructions were very hard to get the hang of. When you are used to a language like English where word order is one of the main defining elements of meaning in a sentence, trying to understand a language where it has almost no relevance can be tricky.

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

Gary's picture

Saw this on CNN today.

One of the most interesting companies out there is Praxis, which started ChinesePod in 2005. It provides a free daily podcast with a 10-minute lesson about specific situations, such as dealing with health issues or visiting a museum. The company sells subscriptions from $9 per month, with which you get access to the ever-expanding archive. Pay more and you get more, including mobile access and study and vocab guides.

ChinesePod: Basic subscription, $9; http://www.chinesepod.com

The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music and haggis and called it food.

SallyBR1's picture

Yeap...

I've beeen a member from chinesepod.com since January 1st this year - got the premium subscription, which is worth every penny

fantastic site - since I started taking classes at the university I don t use it as much, but it will be excellent during Christmas break, so that I don t lose that much vocabulary and listening practice

the daily broadcast is usually sent by an Englishman (Ken) and a Chinese girl (Jenny) from Shanghai. They are great, he's got a nice sense of humor, seems like a very nice guy. And she is adorable too.
For some reason, I always think about Ashley when I listen to Ken over at chinesepod. Go figure... :-)

I highly recommend podcasts for people who want to learn a foreign language - they are very popular now, and available in many many languages. I suspect chinesepod was the first, though. I am a huge fan

 


 


It is not gremolita, it is GREMOLATA!!!!

(October 2007)