learn cantonese in hong kong

“Do you know, Daddy?” She blinks.

“No, sweetheart. I don’t know what that means.”

“Ugh!” She stomps her foot.

“Honey, I don’t speak Chinese.”

“Oh, right.”

This was a snippet of a conversation I had with my 4-year-old today.

Why? Because she was trying to tell me something in Chinese.

language immersion in hong kong
Auburn and her Chinese grandma at the park. She’s so loved!

I recently took a solo 12-day trip to Cambodia. It was my first time spending time away from my daughter in over three years. During these 12 days, she stayed at her Chinese Grandma’s home.

Before I left for Cambodia, Auburn’s Chinese language skills were relatively basic. Her speaking was minimal, though her listening skills seemed well-developed (she’s been learning for roughly six months). I really want her to learn Cantonese in Hong Kong, but overall it’s been difficult.

However, since I’ve returned to Hong Kong to reunite with my daughter, she’s been speaking and communicating in Chinese in full sentences, constantly.

And I’m not at all surprised.

learn cantonese in hong kong
Here’s her surprised face. 😛

How I Predicted My Daughter’s Rapid Advancement in the Chinese Language and What That Tells Us About Language Learning

Before I left for Cambodia, her  Chinese skills reminded me of myself a few years ago before I traveled solo to Mexico.

I was speaking a little bit of Spanish at the time, I could understand much more than I could speak. I didn’t at all feel fluent or confident in my skills. I could ask for directions to the bathroom, but I couldn’t always understand them.

However, I spent two weeks in Mexico. The majority of my time was in Morelia, but I saw some other, beautiful places as well, such as San Miguel de Allende.

I knew I was immersing myself in the Spanish language–that was my goal. What I didn’t realize while I was there: I was rapidly developing my ability to speak Spanish.

language learning in hong kong
I lost my phone in Latin America and all the pictures I had, so here’s Hong Kong Harbor

How? I was hearing it in the grocery store. Listening to it on the bus. But most importantly, I was speaking it every day because I had to. I was finally working a muscle that hadn’t been effectively exercised. And it quickly strengthened.

Before my two weeks in Mexico, I understood enough of what people said, so the words were already in my head. Much like my daughter’s comprehension of Chinese before I left for Cambodia.

How to Learn Cantonese in Hong Kong

In her 12 days of staying with her Chinese family, I knew she was going to do what I did with Spanish. She finally made the jump from understanding and knowing, to speaking.

learn cantonese in hong kong
Auburn and her older cousin. Great to see them getting so close while Auburn learns her language!

Only she did in

I did it in my late 20’s. My daughter did it before she was 5. Anyone can do it.

Anyone Can Rapidly Speak a New Language

But only if they’re willing to put in the work of learning the words and recognizing the sounds. This I think is the most tedious part of learning a new language. It’s a rough adjustment phase, it takes time, and the process feels slow (and sometimes frustrating).

Once it’s passed, however, speaking skills rapidly improve.

And it’s totally worth it. For Auburn, it was imperative that she learn Cantonese in Hong Kong. it means the chance to communicate with family, and it makes my eyes get a bunch of dust in them. Stupid dust.


Learning a new language is possible for anyone–now it’s your turn to commit. Please subscribe below to my email list if you liked this article and want me to continue writing! Your subscription is my favorite form of encouragement!

 

It was our last day in Chiang Mai, my first birthday since I’ve started this single dad blog, the mid-point of our 2 weeks in Thailand.

We woke up early, brewed some coffee, and sat at a table in the middle of the garden where tiny rainbow-colored fish wiggled in a pond.

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The guesthouse owners arranged a taxi for $5 to the airport and flew back to Bangkok. From there, it was $10 per person to hop on a bus and we were off to Hua Hin.

The bus from Bangkok Airport to Hua Hin is found on Level 1 next to Gate 8.

The buses were clean, comfortable, and stacked with a free bottle of water.

We had plenty snacks and sandwiches from 7-11, and as I took my first drink of a Chang, I noticed a sign saying there was a $300 fine for drinking alcohol on the bus.

Oh well, it was already open. And I’m a single parent blogger, I could use a break.

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Five rumbling hours through rain later and we pulled into the bus stop outside of the city center.

A mini-bus was waiting to take us to our hotel. Having forgotten to change money or withdraw any Thai Baht that day, we simply had to take a sustained look of disdain along with an upcharge to take us to the money changing place before our hotel.

It was dark out by the time we got to our hotel, so we ate, and promptly went to sleep half way through our 2 weeks in Thailand.

The next week was rather uneventful because that’s how I planned it!

We stayed in ‘Angel Room’ at Hin Ngam Condo, a lovely, relaxing resort with two kids’ pools for Auburn.

2 weeks in thailand
Our balcony over one of the pools

She loved the slides, zero-depth entrance, and jet tub. There were squirt guns, pool toys, and the trees next to the pool would drop big leaves in that Auburn loved to collect.

It was easy to let her swim all day while I relaxed and read a book in a lounge chair.

Honestly, the whole week was like this. We had no reason to go anywhere in Hua Hin.

The room was super comfortable; the pool was a fantastic place for Auburn to play, and, frankly, I didn’t want to do anything besides relaxing all week long, happy 31st to me 😀

2 weeks in thailand
Auburn on top of the elephant slide. She never slid down it, just climbed up and climbed down.

There were a few food stalls outside the resort that we liked to eat at in the evening. One night they served us something that we weren’t sure what it was.

I saw it again recently in Hong Kong.

It was lung.

A soup full of lungs.

And we ate it.

All of it.

Great news: you can make it at home.

After the *refreshing* week in Hua Hin, and roughly 2 weeks in Thailand, we were back to Bangkok for a few days.

We took a full day to explore The Grand Palace. The Grand Palace costs around $15 per person. It’s beautiful there, and scary.

2 weeks in thailand
All three of us just outside the entrance to The Grand Palace, Bangkok

There’s an incredible temple, massive, golden statues with peaceful faces, and immense murals depicting everything from death to debauchery.

You can enter an old arsenal there. It’s a display of an array of flesh-severing pikes and bone-crushing maces.

vacation in bangkok
This buildign houses the weapon aresenal. There’s a million cameras on it.

Some of them are easily recognizable from movies and TV; others are frightening to see for real. Their shapes give a vicious indication of what they do to a person.

2 weeks in thailand, vacation in thailand
Inside The Grand Palace

If you’ve made it this far into The Grand Palace, you’re probably hungry by now. So be smart, open your backpack and eats the sandwiches and snacks you brought along.

There are 1,000,000 instagrammable spots in The Grand Palace, I recommend you find them.

vacation in bangkok
Both exhausted. There’s a lot to see in The Grand Palace.