Yesterday I received a phone call out of the blue from a Chinese girl I had met my first week in Qingdao. She and her friends met us while they were on vacation in Qingdao. We spent a lovely day together, but then they were leaving to go back to their city. I've only talked to this girl a few times online since, so it was quite a surprise when she called me.
She was just making a friendly phone call saying that she missed me and asking me when I was going back to America. After a couple of minutes talking, she stopped and asked if I remembered the first time we met and the fact that we could barely communicate. I remember clearly how awkward it was to hang out with this group of Chinese teenagers and how they would laugh when we tried to communicate with them. This time, I understood everything she said and was able to respond appropriately.
I can't believe the improvement that I've experienced with my Chinese over the past three months. I feel like I am fast approaching a vital juncture at which I will start to feel more comfortable speaking Chinese in any situation, so I am sad to leave this conducive learning environment. Several of my Chinese friends have been commenting lately on how much my Chinese has improved and that now I can understand almost everything they say. It feels really good.