Today was a joyous revelation and a crushing realization of limitations. In class yesterday, our teacher introduced the topic of businesses taking midday rests along with some pros and cons. Today, we had the debate (with basically no preparation).
I took the pro side because I truly agree and I thought I had the proper language to make my case. My teammate was the weakest student in class, and although he’s really been improving in this level, I knew I would be doing most of the talking. Zhang asked me to begin and the words just flowed! I was thrilled. When my turn came again, however, I fumbled everything and that’s where the crushing realization came in. Immersion is not enough, and Chinese is going to be an eternal struggle. It will not be a lovely, comfortable language like Spanish, but a secretive, twisty bitch that requires never-ending attention and devotion. That’s my fear, anyway.
The debate continued, and I just reveled in exercising my argumentative muscles and catching my slips too late and seeing my opponents latch on and make the points I had accidentally yielded. Clearly, I need a lot more exercise, but I had forgotten how fun a good debate can be. To be sure, it helped that it wasn’t a terribly controversial point, but what else are we going to talk about at our level? The coming elections and the merits of each party’s positions? Actually, I bet we could!
Just very, very slowly.