02 June 2017


The macro-renovations have extended to moving the furniture around, in preparation for the other bookcase. The desk has taken "fireplace position" and apart from the spacious corner (soon to disappear) it's all feeling rather constricted. One can move easily between the seating and the coffee table - I can get to the desk without knocking anything over - 
The desk feels vulnerable - there's space on either side, and if it gets too crowded things will fall over the edges. Where to put things, mid-project ... well there's the coffee table behind the chair, and there are numerous drawers, which obviously need a re-think. 

They are orderly, but very full. And that means just one thing - sorting and discarding. So far I've managed one drawer, into which go the CQ newsletters, which are needed for checking when the latest issue is being prepared -
 What came out of that drawer was all my chinese-learning materials. I haven't studied Mandarin for over 10 years now, and have forgotten 99% of the characters I could recognise, but my hard work at the time must have paid off in some way - looking through the books and flashcards I could make sense of some things, and recently when overhearing a conversation I'm still able to understand phrases and sentences here and there.  And there was the sheer enjoyment of learning a language that's so different and seemed so impossibly difficult.
The girl in the photo is Tian, English name Tina, young daughter of a student from Xian who tried to help me with conversation. She's now almost finished training to be an architect  - how quickly time passes.

Coming across this bit of fun made me realise how much upkeep language skills need - it's unimaginable now that I'd be able to do crossword puzzles using chinese characters, no matter how many dictionaries were to hand -
I haven't discarded these things, not yet, and still have a lot of books like "100 essential chinese characters" and DVDs for practising listening. Chinese lessons on the internet were just in their infancy then. Every now and then I open up my Chinese dictionary and look and enjoy.

Which is easier, getting used to a new furniture arrangement - or sorting and discarding - or learning a language?

1 comment:

reensstitcher said...

I am into discarding now. Yesterday I realised that the group who helped themselves to far more of my stuff than I had offered them (I was not well enough to stand over them) have taken my jar of pins for putting together quilts!! Yikes. Although I don't expect to make anything other than what I have already started, it will have to be glue from now on.