Difficult time in HKG

香港 HongKong No Comments »

2012 / 06 / 29

Since April I was facing serious water leakage problems at my flat and I could not see any end, because the summer season = rain season had JUST started. I complained to the management office, my landlord and the property agent by sending photos of my current living condition, by “inviting” them to my home. What I could do in that moment, I did. But there was not any improvement at all. The only thing I could do was waiting. Waiting until the workers could find the hole(s) in the roof, waiting until the rain stops, waiting until the roof is dry in order to start the construction work, waiting until the wall in my flat is dry, waiting until the ceiling in my room will be fixed, waiting until the cabinet will be repaired, waiting for somebody feels responsible to pay for the repair works. But actually nobody felt any responsibility. While I was waiting, the water was RUNNING from the roof into my flat, along walls and ceiling, through the built-in-wooden cabinet to the floor. Because of the high humidity (>74%), mould started to grow, insects have been born. My whole living condition made me so sad. I cried. I cried a lot. And gained new power.

Well, if plan A – just waiting until something happen – does not work, there will be plan B: moving out this place and find a new better home. Frankly speaking I am tired of moving. But there is no way out at the moment, so I faced the reality.

Plan B is not that easy as it sounds, as these days renting a proper flat with separate bathroom and kitchen in Hong Kong, close to my company, is pretty expensive. Therefore I was very happy to hear when Daisy, my friend and neighbor who was also recently looking for a new flat, agreed to share a flat. The chance we could find a decent flat arose.

Last week we finally found a flat and signed the contract. I was happy about it and relieved. But it did not last for long, new problems would wait for me. There are some construction works going on and creates loud noise during the day time. This we used for bargaining the rent. We could manage it. Although my friend was discussing with the new landlord, she did not allowed us to move in later than 1st of July. But our current contract last until end of August. I needed to decide:  I definitely did not want to stay in my current flat for another month, so I broke the current contract. That means I need to pay a penalty=one month rent to my landlord. This time my property agent helped me to discuss with the landlord. There was a new deal: I need to move within one week and only pay half month rent for penalty. It sounds like a good deal. I agreed and countered another problem. Because of such a short notice, all reasonable removal companies have been booked out. I had a plan B again: Hire a van, a driver and ask friends for help. On Wednesday I moved with the great help of my friends. I was happy about it and relieved again.

There is still some stuff in the old place, which I need to hand carry, but it is not a big deal. I can handle it. But another problem has just come up. In my former flat there is a bunk bed, which I need to disassemble by myself and carry it to the rubbish center nearby. This I also could do it, BUT typhoon No.8 is approaching us!  And I need to return the key tomorrow. I am running out of time!!! I need to go now! Please take care as well, my dear friends in HKG!

How I prepared myself for HSK 3 and 4 exams

Learning Chinese & HSK, Thoughts, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

2012 / 06 / 01

Actually, I was learning vocabularies for long time already (nearly every day a little bit for about one year), so I was not that worried about them. This is something I can always do as e.g. while waiting for the bus or by walking to office (this is dangerous, please do not do!!!). After doing the mock up sample I was much more worried about my listening comprehension as in this section I got poor scores only. Therefore I consulted my friend Daisy, who is also a Putonghua teacher. She gave me the hint that my listening comprehension is bad because of my not accurate pronunciation. Now, I DID know what to do: I definitely needed to improve my pronunciation AND my listening comprehension IN SHORT TIME. There was not so much time left any more and I definitely did not want to postpone my exams. Those exams are my challenges and passing them are my targets of this year!

I had a plan, but I was not sure whether it will work or not. BUT I wanted to try. So, today I would like to share you how I prepared myself for the HSK exams (HSK3 and HSK4).

The fact is in my daily life English and Cantonese are over-weighting. In order to get to use much more to Mandarin Chinese language thinking and feeling I had completely eliminated those languages until the exam date, as well as my native languages Japanese and German. 4 weeks before the appointed date I literally immersed myself in Chinese language that I had the feeling I was living in Mainland China and not in Hong Kong. I was listening active and passive to Chinese every hour, every minute and every second, even when I was sleeping or cooking. I exposed myself 24 hours to Chinese music, movies and dramas. Every day I was reading a Chinese short novel or listening to this short novel CD.
At the beginning it was difficult to change my daily habit. I forced myself to speak Mandarin Chinese only at the working place with my colleague, on the street, with my friends and even with myself! But after some time, it became naturally and communicating turned out not to be that struggling. I was much more relaxed and confident! In order not get the temptation to speak in other languages, I did not meet my foreigner friends during this period and I also did not eat any German or Japanese food. I got totally crazy and went to extremes.

2 weeks before the appointed date I did a mock up test  every second day. And wow! I was surprised my listening comprehension DID improved. Just by listening once, I was able to understand! The other every second day I reviewed not only my mistakes in those mock up samples, but also some common HSK grammar sections.

In fact, I found out that this kind of learning is the best way to learn and improve my Chinese. This learning method did not only help me to improve my “HSK skills”, but also my general Chinese skills. Since ever, I started to expose myself to more and more Chinese every day. Surely not that extreme as I did in frame of the HSK preparation, but still immerse into the learning language is a great support especially living in the country, where Mandarin Chinese is not the native language.

P.S. I passed both HSK exams and I am so happy that I cried a lot!

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