Monthly Archives: September 2016

Chinese National Holiday 2016 -> NH

Greetings, Golden Week, oh how I have missed you…

It is cold outside on the last day of September. Perhaps it is more accurate to use the word brisk, although I don’t quite know where to draw the line these days.

It is Friday. The last day of the work week before National Holiday, a seven day vacation for the entire working body of the PRC.

This week was particularly grueling. The project my department is working on got ballooned from one department to three. Now nobody with proper knowledge has the power to make decisions, and nobody with power has the proper knowledge.

But enough about that. Big corporations are like Shakespearean tragedies without all of that good writing. Just people being dramatic and dying.

I am excited for the holiday. I will sit on a plane for fourteen hours, transfer in DC, and finally land in Boston. Then I will drive an hour north. That’s where my home is. Or at least, the place where I grew up.

It has been a year since I was last there. A lot has changed. Or maybe nothing has changed. I don’t quite know where to draw the line these days.

I am psyched to eat home cooked meals and look at the foliage. New Hampshire, here I come! Live free or die.

HSK4 Complete 汉语水平考试考过了

Guess what? Some auspicious news is here… I passed my HSK Level 4.

HSK is an acronym for Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, which is the pinyin for Chinese Level Test. It is the most internationally recognized certification in Mandarin.

I would be lying if I were to say that I am not proud. Chinese takes an incredible amount of time to learn and I am no exception. 

Preparing for the HSK helped to increase my vocabulary and improve my reading comprehension.

According to the Wiki, the level four exam has a word count of 1200. It also provides the following description of the test.

“Designed for learners who can discuss a relatively wide range of topics in Chinese and are capable of communicating with Chinese speakers at a high standard.”

I don’t know if I would call my Chinese “high standard”, but I’ll take it.

Of course, it is commonly speculated that you need about 3,000 words to understand a mainland newspaper. HSK 5 is 2,500 words. I am not even halfway there… 

However, regardless of being able to understand a newspaper, I have experienced a jump in my daily communication ability.

Not only has my Chinese level improved, but it also gave my self confidence a boost. Even though I almost never write characters longhand, (with the exception of an address), my ability to communicate with others over social media platforms has noticeably increased.

I hope to start preparing a level 5 once I return from my trip home.

If you are interested in starting to learn Chinese or continuing to improve, check out the following sites I use.


Climbing Up Cold Mountain

Climbing Up Cold Mountain

Clambering up the cold mountain path,
The cold mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist-blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there’s been no rain.
The pine sings, but there is no wind.
Who can leap the world’s ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?

寒山 Han Shen
The Soul of the World: A Modern Book of Hours