I made a list of goals before I came here, three of them were to exercise more regularly, do yoga, and dilligently learn Vietnamese. Today I have started!
I joined a gym this morning. It’s really good and friendly! It’s about £200 for a year’s membership which includes all the gym, exercise, dance and yoga classes plus a sauna. I am going to try and go to two yoga classes a week and to two gym sessions. I reckon this will last about a month but I’m really going to try! I also made friends with some Vietnamese ladies who go there, although they commented that I run funny (?!) and asked me why I wasn’t at the early morning yoga. I didn’t realise it was expected that you go to early morning yoga! That’s Vietnamese forwardness for you.
I also started my Vietnamese lessons this afternoon. Our whole house and some other teachers I know are all doing them, my company pay for them so it’s a great deal. The teacher was really good, she was fun, motivating and encouraging. The actual language, however, is so difficult! There are loads of new vowel sounds and six different tones. There are three accents that make words go ‘up’, as in, a really high tone of voice, and three which make it go ‘down’. But they are all subtly different. I find it really difficult because I think I am probably tone deaf. I mean, if some one played me two notes on a piano I wouldn’t be able to tell which was the higher one unless it was really really obvious. So when she tells me to lower my tone or go higher, I can’t do it properly! Each word has a different tone so sentences go up and down. On top of this there are 7 different forms of the pronoun ‘you’ depending on who you’re addressing. Plus Ds are actually Ts or Us, Qs are Ws, ng is pronounced ‘m’, Ns are sometimes Ws and you rarely pronounce the last letter of words, it goes on! The lessons were hilarious though and I had a really good time. We spent a good half an hour just learning to count to ten (I still can’t remember!). Number 3 is pronounced ‘baaa’ and 7 is pronounced ‘baiiii’, it’s really easy to get them confused! It felt like being at primary school again, everyone got really into it and reverted back into child mode, to the extent that we were hissing ‘yessss’ like nerdy children every time we got a question right. After a two hour lesson I can now, just about, count to ten, say my name and ask some one else’s name.
Although I was teaching my teenage class this evening and when I proudly demonstrated my new language skills they just laughed! Thankfully the old lady at the end of our street, whose cart I buy my daily sandwich off, appreciated my efforts more.