Hunter got a do-bok for Tae Kwon Do and I knew Rowan was impressed with it, so in Australia I picked up a kung-fu suit for Rowan at the Sydney markets.
About a week later he announced at dinner that he’d like to learn Chinese, please. Saira taught him to count to ten, say hello and thankyou, and that was as best we could do with not knowing much Chinese to speak.
Rowan persisted in asking, and via the NZ China Friendly Society’s free weekly adult introductory classes (contact details) I found out that there is a Chinese school on Sundays in Dunedin, where you can learn Chinese art, Mandarin language, and Chinese dance.
We tried a language lesson, and he was keen but the teacher indicated it would be hard for a student with no background to support him to catch up with a class of students who have Mandarin at home. Saira and I talked about this and decided to see if the art classes held his interest and gave him a foothold, so we did a couple of weeks of that.
He thought that was ok, but after a couple of weeks announced from the shower the night before a Sunday session that he’d be going back to the language class now. I’m impressed by this determination.
So - I’ve doubled down on learning Mandarin myself (enjoying the HelloChinese app on mobile), Rowan is practicing hard and his teacher is delighted to see that he’s as keen as he is.
I didn’t expect to end up learning Mandarin myself, but after studying Te Reo Maori last year I’m finding I really enjoy the challenge and the experience. Even though I’m not officially a member of the class - just sitting in to help Rowan get his feet on the ground for now.
(There are also free adult classes in Dunedin, I haven’t checked them out yet.)