The first semester of third year is done, and I am currently with my family taking a break in Cambodia. Overall I feel that this semester went pretty well.
One of our teachers quit when we had 2 weeks left of the semester, and that was really weird. One week he was there, and then the following week he just didn't turn up. He was my favorite teacher and seemed to have the best relationship with all the students by far. I would always message him to ask questions and such, and while he has since said I am welcome to continue doing that, it is still disappointing. I am not sure who will take over the classes we had with him next semester.
I've tried to do a bit more reading of late, especially focusing on the type of literature we will be reading next year for our thesis. I read 《棋王》and really enjoyed it, finding it about right for my current level, then I read 《断魂枪》which was short but interesting, and I am currently reading 《啊Q正传》. I am mining a good bit of vocabulary from these books, and of course increasing the number of characters I can read. I am also enjoying the cultural aspects of the books, though at some points they are still quite confusing to me. I do also have 《三体》which I would like to read, but first I just want to focus on stuff for next year a bit.
As far as speaking goes, I find myself in much the same position as before. Obviously there is some improvement, but I still find that my tones go haywire when I start trying to speak a bit faster, in contrast to sounding wooden and strange when I speak slowly. I'm still not sure of the best way to improve here. I had a teacher suggest reading through texts that I am familiar with at a slow speed, which in theory sounds good, but my reading isn't anything like good enough to actually have an accurate pronunciation when I read out loud. I think I just need to keep practicing, and doing my best to imitate native speakers.
My final exams seemed to go well on the whole, although I haven't bothered to check my results. I can only get access to them through the wifi at the university, and because I live off campus I have never actually paid to be able to use this service. I am also finding that I am less interested in my results, and more interested in my actual ability to communicate with people in Chinese.
It seems strange writing this with the whole coronavirus situation going on. We have been contacted by the university - they wanted all our details, where we have been, where we are going etc. They have also said that people are not allowed to return early, and that anyone who is spending the holiday in Harbin isn't allowed to leave without applying 3 days in advance. Furthermore, on their return they need to self-quarantine for 14 days. There has now been a confirmed case in Cambodia, and to be honest with the state of the healthcare here China would likely be a better place to be. For now we are just going to see what happens over the next 2/3 weeks, and what comes through from the university.
Until next time!