As of right now, I think my favorite class that I'm taking here at Guizhou Normal is probably my speaking class right now. My other classes have evolved into HSK preparation (which if you don't know is composed of listening, reading, and writing parts), but since there isn't any speaking portion of the HSK, we've started going through all of the Chinese 成语故事 or the stories behind popular idioms. First 沈老师 will tell us the idiom and then tell us the story behind it. And then we, the students, have to tell her what we think the meaning is. I guess I'm having an easier time than my other two classmates because all but two (so far) of the stories 沈老师 has told us, I've been able to find the idiom in the dictionary on my phone. 很方便 XD!
I've really found all of it interesting. So far we've learned:
五十步笑百步 - the pot calling the kettle black
对症下药 - treat the right illness with the right treatment
水滴石穿 - dripping water wears through rocks
笨鸟先飞 - stupid birds fly(go) first
猴子掰包谷 - this one is a little hard to explain. The story goes that a monkey is roaming through a corn field and is picking corn and putting ear ear of corn under his arm. When he reaches for the next one, the first drops out and at the end of the corn field, he only has two when he just spent so much time picking corn. The moral is that you shouldn't forget things that you've learned. Study hard and keep all the knowledge. Don't be like the monkey. This one wasn't in my dictionary.
水中捞月 - fish for the moon's reflection
拔苗助长 - try to help the shoots grow by pulling them upward
刻舟求剑 - nick the boat to seek the sword (this one was very interesting. It told of a man who, while crossing a river dropped his sword in the water. He made a notch in the boat so he would know where the sword fell, regardless of the fact that the boat would move.)
郑人买履 - I'm still not sure what this one means! This is one of the ones I didn't find in my dictionary.
纸上谈兵 - THIS ONE. This one is perfect. The dictionary entry isn't very helpful, so I'll sum it up quickly with an example. I studied Chinese for 3 years and thought I was hot stuff. I aced every Chinese test that they put in front of me, I could hold simple conversations. So when I came to China, I thought I ould be able to just jump in and live. Well, things in China are very different from learning about things in China. 纸上谈兵!
指手画脚 - talking with your hands to make a point (normally not a good one or a commanding one)
望梅止渴 - quenching thirst by thinking of plums
画饼充饥 - drawing a cake to sate hunger
对牛弹琴 - play the lute to the cow (talking above someone's head)
And the list is growing. Looking forward to tomorrow's class even though it's at 8:00 in the morning!