This week I am back in Chinese class after being gone for over a year and a half. I have to confess that I am a little rusty, but in good spirits none the less. For me, learning Chinese is a marathon... or maybe its more like a brick wall that I have to dig through... with a spoon... and the spoon is plastic.
I know an American guy here in town who has lived here for many years now. He has studied a lot of Chinese and has, up until recently, been involved with managing a Chinese company. With those credentials, it is pretty clear that the man can communicate with the locals.
One day, he asked a local friend what he thought of his Chinese skills. The conversation, which was probably in Chinese, went something like this:
"Hey, Mr. Wong. We've been friends for a long time now. You would probably be honest with me. What do you think of my Chinese? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being fluent, where would you say that I'm at."
"That's a tough question, friend. Let me pour some more beer and think about it."
About a minute later...
"Ummm, maybe a 2? Does that sound right?"
So, judging from Mr. Wong, it is a long road to the pot of gold of fluency. I don't know, maybe the guy is way off on his estimate. When I told another American guy this story he said something like:
"What? Mr. Wong? I know more Chinese than that guy and he's Chinese!"
So, who to believe?
Anyways, back to me. I probably need to use decimal points for my language level. But like I said, it's got to be a marathon. I will continue to pick away at it, with a bad accent and stupid questions along the way.
"Quitters never win because that's why they're called quitters and winners win because that's why they're called winners." That is a direct quote from the 13th President of some country in the Pacific.