Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chinese School!

So I finally got around to looking into a class to learn Mandarin. Matt and I have traveled to a lot of places around the world and we really think its helpful to say some basic things when you are in another country (i.e. 'where is the bathroom', 'how much is that?', 'I want two coffees', etc). For this trip, we could spend the entire trip (airport to airport) with an adoption 'guide' (that we pay through via our agency). That said, Matt and I agree that we want to spend a few days, probably before Emma joins us, to see the country 'on our own'. So we need to have some language skills.

Anyway, without going to an actual university and paying for 'credits', the easiest option I found was our local Chinese school. The class is called an 'adult conversation' class. We also signed lexie up for the preschool class at the same time. I was very happy with my successful registration yesterday morning. In an hour I had planned it all out -- daycare for lexie during the adult conversation class, that Matt and I can take together. Ok, well, it was perfect until we got there and ran into a few glitches --
  • Problem #1 - Preschool class is not drop off. Parents are supposed to stay. - Its ok though, the teacher says if lexie is good we can just leave her. We will be just next door to her in the conversation class. Ok, problem solved.
  • Problem #2 - Preschool class is 98% in mandarin. Lexie is one of the only children (well, potentially the only) who doesn't also speak Mandarin at home. - Its ok though, the teacher says she will just speak to Lexie in english a bit more. Lexie finds a friend immediately and is goofing off with her in English and not listening to the teacher anyway. Ok, problem #2 solved, I head to the 'adult conversation' class.
  • Problem #3- The adult conversation classes started September 15th. We were on Lesson # 5 this week. I walk in (late due to above issues with preschool class) and they are speaking sentences in Mandarin and reading Pinyin & Chinese Characters.- I am not sure how this will pan out as I have no Mandarin background. Further, Matt has zero language background (I can at least speak Spanish, a little). It's ok though, I tell Matt (and the teacher) that I am smart and I will catch us up. :-)
  • Problem #4 - Preschool class is only an hour, our adult conversation class is 2 hours. - ok this was a problem that I couldn't solve. Half way through our class the preschool teacher came over and asked if one of us was going to come and get Lexie, lol! Matt 'took one for the team' and left the room. The preschool teacher suggested he take lexie to the 'youth conversation class'. He explained later to me that the class had kids grade k-5 (i.e. aged 5-10). He said they learned how to count from 1-5 and how to say 'mama' and 'baba' (daddy). While the class i a little old for Lexie, Matt said the class is perfect for him! :-)
So the end result is I am taking the adult conversation class by myself on Friday nights. Matt will take Lexie to her preschool class and then to the youth conversation class. Lexie clearly won't get much out of the youth class, but I think Matt will. Moreover, the people at the school were awesome! We had 3 ppl helping us...trying to get us into the classes, moving Lexie around, and helping us out as we joined late. And of course they all asked about the adoption and were very sweet about Emma's homecoming.

Now, on to that studying...hmm, where did I put those flashcards? :-)

Wish us luck!

Christy's plan this weekend, catch up Lessons 1-5.


Annie said...

Very cool!!!!! I really wish I had learned a little bit of Chinese before we traveled! Good for you all:)

Anonymous said...

I just found your site and I had to comment. Our daughter is from Kumning also and I just was taken back by how much our daughters look a like they must be from the same minority group. Enjoy your trip Kumning is beautiful and visit the country side. I haven't updated our site lately but you can read about our travels in the month of May 2007. She was !0 months old and 12 pounds when we got her. She the light of our world. Safe travels.

Martha B. said...

We are trying hard to learn at least 1 phrase a week from our Chinese for Adoptive Parents book & CD...I am about 3 phrases ahead of DH who will probably just look at me helplessly while in China in hopes I can ask where the bathroom is for him :)