Found this very useful website which outlines the various stages of learning Chinese. Sino Spice is the site. I am now kind of between Stage 2 and 3 but if you ask me to pick I would say 3. I can get my point across to taxi drivers and the ayi. I can understand way more than I could four months ago but I still have a long road ahead of me. The thing that is making learning the language easier is my obsession with it – I love it and learn something at least once a day even if that one thing is a reinforcement of what I already know. Chinese actually isn’t that difficult once you get under the skin of it and my lessons I have after work help me on the conversational side of things.Last week I had two weird experiences. First one: I was talking to my teacher in Chinese about very simple concepts, why did you come to china, what do you do, what do you like in Shanghai etc etc when I stopped dead. I froze because it was the first time I had a real conversation in Chinese and I was freaked out I am speaking Chinese. I had finally reached some kind of level after a long time of study. The second weird experience was watching TV. I was watching a game show on Chinese TV and I got it. I understood what they were saying. OK, I couldn’t understand everything but the broad strokes I was understanding. It was very trippy and not unlike someone moving away a net curtain that had been up previously. I was quite moved. Both these thing have happened in the past week. All at once. Crazy shit.

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