I am a very reflective person. This simply means that I do not go fast. I speak slow and I think deep. It is always my habit to pause and think hard about the things that I see and the words that I hear. However, when it comes to carrying a conversation, this becomes a disadvantage, if not a hindrance.
I feel comfortable speaking Chinese in a monologue format. But when I am talking to students here at Holy Light Theological Seminary (HLTS), I have a hard time keeping up with the spontaneous and quick exchange of words. Having a dialogue with another person is hard work for me, much more when the conversation is in Chinese. When I pause and think about what I am going to say, many of the students here have this habit of interrupting me, interjecting their own words into the conversation. They do not seem to have the patience to wait for me to say the words. (I know this is not their intention.) They come and straight away provide the words they think I was going to say. Sometimes, they are right. But most often, they miss what I really want to say. By the time, I get back to my thoughts, the dialogue has moved on to another topic.
Give and take dialogue is very difficult for me. And it does not help that my Chinese language acquisition level is in a very low level, probably a third grade level. It helps a little bit when the conversation stays on one topic that I know. It is during this time that I can carry a real conversation.
Please pray for me. Pray that my learning Mandarin Chinese will grow. Pray that I will have the humility to accept people (the seminary students) as they are. Some days I feel great and think that my Chinese is really improving. (Even the students say this.) But some days, like today, I feel that I am stuck in a deep valley. I do not seem go anywhere. When I open my mouth, I stutter. I cannot remember the simplest Chinese words. Please pray that God's grace will overflow in my life, in my student life, in my study of the Chinese language. Thank you for your intercession.