Humour me for a moment and close your eyes.
Imagine you're standing on a treadmill.
Visualise the dash board. For those who can't or wont trust a freestyle approach, there's a programme button to set the type of exercise you might want: interval, gradual climb, high intensity, etc...
Are you still with me?
Right. Now, open your eyes.
What do all these programmes have in common? A warm up section before they get down to business.
So why did I think for a minute that my 90/90 Chinese Lesson Masterplan would be any different?
Because lessons 1-4 were a walk in the proverbial park, that's why.
I thought to myself: 'this learning Mandaring business is a piece of (moon) cake.'
That's one piece of cake I won't be eating any time soon.
Words, so many new words: Long Peace Road. College Street. Over here, over there, everywhere. Go to. Want to. Don't want to. Now. When. Later. Not later. Not Now. Your place/my place (you never know when that could come in handy). When? Where?
Then I remembered the underlying philosophy of this intense language programme: listen, repeat, and relax!
So I did. Repeat that is. And repeat. And repeat...
Now I can say Long Peace Road and I can say Street but try as I may 'College' is just not going in. I'm just going to have make my (Long) peace with it and let it go.
I listened and repeated, and listened and repeated again. I played back lesson 5 twice, and stopped and started until I got it right. Today I even replayed lesson 5 a third time before moving on to lesson 6 which I then went over twice.
That's an hour and a half of Mandarin.
My brain is so addled right now it's probably shrunk to the size of a raisin. Please don't ask me anything. Especially not how to say 'College' in Mandarin because I may just squash you like a bug as I fall over in a coma.
I won't know whether the overdrive (some would say commitment, but I think crazy's more like it) pays off until lesson 7 but I promise to keep you posted.