Hello. About an hour ago, I was listening to the latest "Advanced" lesson ("Funeral Rites") when something went "click!" in my head.
That "click" was the sound of realizing that I was comfortable in Advanced. The only words which I didn't know were all (just about) listed in the vocab lists. And the all-Chinese "banter" had not been a problem. It was quite a shock, actually.
This Auntie then went to the "Lessons" section, and discovered that the release date of the "Advanced" lesson that I had started with -- the one on tattoos -- was (nearly exactly) one year ago.
I may be excessively fond of advising frustrated Newbs/ Eles to just relax and wait for the "click", but to be honest, up to this morning I was still "Advanced-phobic". Even though I'm basically a messy learner, the way I always let new "Advanced" lessons pile up -- once the backlog was 8 lessons! -- reflected my fear of tackling them. Somehow, I had to be "in the mood for" that level before I could even start to listening any "Advanced" podcast.
It's a good thing that the "Conversations" are not searchable, because the mere memory of some of my earlier, frustrated/ desperate/ discouraged posts about trying to get a grip on "Advanced" is making me blush right now! Thank you SO much: henning, changye, xiaohu, and other incredibly supportive and patient veterans, for being such good friends/teachers during this period.
Somehow, the transition from Upper-Intermediate had been the most difficult one for me. Getting into Intermediate was relatively painless (prior learning experience), and it's as if I slid into Upper-Intermediate without feeling a thing. But "Advanced" -- everything about it, from the all-Chinese banter, to the absence of English translations, to... oh well... everything was just terrifying, my confidence really took a beating.
Now I don't want this post to be about beating my own gong, although I am very, very happy! I just want to say: Breaking into the level above is daunting. But believe in the "click"! It does come, and it will come for you. Just relax and enjoy the ride...
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