I cannot believe how difficult Mandarin is. The grammar is easy as pie, but the pronunciation is impossible. This is an actual sentence in Mandarin: mà ma má má ma mà. And the vocabulary is just not sticking; after four weeks I still can't tell you how to say "very" off the top of my head. In all fairness I haven't been studying, but in all fairness to that, I have no time! Still, I am enjoying it, and it's great to know I will see my friend Lottie regularly.
German is fab, as German always is, though a bit slow for my preference. But the others in the class haven't had it before, and seeing how much trouble I am having with Mandarin, I have sympathy for them.
So, all in all, super busy, but nothing to report on so much. My eMailing's become slack since I can't check it at work and am sometimes not home till 22:00 (German nights). But wanted to check in with everyone.
Oh! Two trips on the books - and you know how much I love having trips to look forward to. I bought myself a trip to Berlin at the end of November for my XX bday present to myself, going to Middlesbrough in December with some Cass classmates (for the same reason I went to Canberra and Cleveland...) and will be spending New Year's Eve in Lisboa. Miami & New York come in February. My friend Mary Keany, who's over here for work for 6-24 months, wants to do some travelling too, so I expect to get to Africa and the Middle East in 2008. Yikes! All these plans - I better make sure I do a good job at work and don't get laid off!
Apropos of nothing, some interesting things I learned watching a show on immigrants to Britain:
- London is growing by 100,000 people a year (and this doesn't include the Home Counties)
- As a group, Americans give the most to Britain financially; we pay £280/week in income taxes and NI contributions. Canadians and South Africans come in after us. The average British-born parasite pays £133. Somalians pay the least, about £60, just down the ladder from Pakistanis.
- Poles work the most hours per week, followed by the Yankees. The British are surprisingly content with watching Maury Pauvich, Trisha and Jerry Springer in the afternoon.
Oh! Can everyone please send me their mailing addresses and phone numbers? I need to update (ie, start) my Google address book.
I've gotten hooked on Coronation Street. And my head hurts.
OK, off to Exmouth Market to meet Lottie for brunch and hair of the dog. Hope all's well in your part of the world.
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