Be Emotional About Chinese


I’m super emotional. I have emotions pretty much all day every day. I can do things to try to regulate them, but at the end of the day they mostly do whatever they want to do (我行我素- wǒ xíng wǒ sù- to continue in one’s own way). 

Life exists in a constant state of flux. Even moment to moment we can have emotional shifts from contentment to discomfort, from joy to irritability, from energized to lazy. We sometimes really like someone, and then the next day not so much. Some days we’d love nothing more than to run through nature and scream towards the skies, whereas the next day we’d rather stay in all day and read a good book. 

Considering our constantly shifting, morphing, and evolving psyche, why oh why is there still only one main method that people insist is the way to study language? Textbooks, focus, head down, work hard, force yourself, hope Chinese comes out the other side. Rubbish! 

Let your emotions be your guide. Energized? Make some engaging SRS flashcards. Lazy? Put on a Mandarin podcast, take a walk and let your mind wander, letting your unconscious do the heavy lifting of processing the Chinese. Feeling nostalgic? Watch a movie from your childhood dubbed in Chinese. Feeling curious? Check out a word you saved into pleco a while back and see how it’s used in a sentence.

Cynical Expat.jpeg
Don’t be a hero Don’t try to delay your gratification. It’s too hard. It won’t work. Replace it. Substitute it. Find that other drug
— Khatzumoto (of

This is exactly why we recommend such a wide variety of stuff for all the different moods and states of mind you find yourself throughout the day. If you deny the flux and change that is your humanity when it comes to Chinese, Chinese will become the opposite of what you are innately. You will be at war with it. It’ll become work. You’ll likely quit. You might beat up on yourself. All of that denial is going to seep into other parts of your life, and you might even turn into *gasp* a cynical expat! Run!

Don’t deny your humanity, accept it with all your heart.