Well I guess I mistook which week we are in, because apparently this is week 7! I didn't update the blog last week as we had the week off, which was actually really nice and relaxing.
Anyway, things are continuing to go well as we start back up after our week off. Still a fair amount of students not coming to class. Week 9/10 is our mid terms, and it is doubtful whether or not some of the students will be able to sit the exams, as they may not have been to enough classes. If they aren't allowed to sit their mid terms, they automatically get disqualified from taking the final exams too, so I wouldn't want to be in their shoes!
Yesterday our comprehensive teacher told us that we have a big dictation deal on Friday, covering all the hanzi we have learned so far. Then today he dropped a 22 word dictation test on us out of the blue, said there will be another one tomorrow, but the one on Friday will be much bigger. It was nice to be able to see where I am at with no prior preparation or knowledge of what words were going to come up. Along with 2 other students, I got 100%, so needless to say I was pretty happy with that. We also had homework for that class which was to talk about our room and what it contains, but for me I had to do my whole house as I live off campus. This was also really good because it meant looking up new words and their measure words, as well as putting into practice the location words we've learned. Some of my new words were cactus, scales, drawer, punching bag, and a fair few measure words for those and other items.
We also had homework for our speaking class. We just finished up a chapter on time, and so we had to describe a typical day. I tried to make it interesting and add more than just 'I get up at x o'clock. I have breakfast at x o'clock. Class is from x-x o'clock.' I'm sure there were mistakes in there, but I want to get things wrong in order to learn more.
I definitely feel like I am improving across the board, but still find listening to be the hardest by far. I am usually there early so I chat with the teachers, but compared to regular people I meet in daily life, they are so easy to understand! I also find that I can usually do fairly well in the comprehension type listening exercises, but when it comes to the ones where we are given a sentence in pinyin and there are 3 words or so for which we have to mark the tones, I struggle a bit. I guess it's just practice, practice, practice!