I've been learning jyut6 lai4 jyut6, more and more, recently. It's kind of exciting to catch more, understand more, interact more. Of course my level is still really low, but I'm climbing the hill.
Recently I've learned some really good phrases that help me express myself more, like "at the same time," "before", and "you've got to be kidding me." Then I've learned a lot of new vocab for things I see on a regular basis. Just this week I finally decided to look up "tunnel" as I was riding through the Aberdeen Tunnel (Heung1 Gong2 Zai2 seoi6 dou6). Then later that week I was telling someone that living in Ap Lei Chau was a little troublesome because of the tunnel. So I got to use it right away!
As I said before, sometimes looking up words aren't so straightforward. Just like English, often several words will come up, and I don't always know which one to use. I looked up "must" today, but there are SO many entries, so I couldn't even hazard a guess on that one. Same story for "only/just."
Last night I watched Young and Dangerous 4 (Gu2 Waak6 Zai2 Sei3). I used subtitles, but it was cool to hear some words that I've recently learned in class or on my own. When I learn a word, I think I need a human element to cement it into my mind. Although it's better when I use it in person, like in conversation, movies also help. And on a side note, Ekin Cheng looked really cool the whole movie, but he kind of ruined it with the last fight he got in, flailing around, throwing up his arms, grabbing at his opponent. Not. Very. Cool.
Today I got a lot of practice in, some successful and some not quite so much, but it's all practice. I was helping my mom, since they're moving to a new flat. It's only a few blocks away, so we were carting stuff back and forth in suitcases. I tried to strike up conversations with people in the lift. I'm not sure how to say "moving" so I was trying to say that my parents are going to live here, but I didn't always get the message across. After getting off the lift, one man pointed at us and said something to the security guard about "airport." I don't think he got what I was trying to say and was extrapolating from our suitcases.
Then when I was going home later, I was standing at the stop, waiting for the minibus. The lady in front of me was watching something on her phone, and I recognized the song that was playing. It was Dream High, a Korean drama. I commented that I watched that drama before, and so we started talking. She asked me if I was watching Sing1 Sing1 (My Lover From the Stars, or something like that) the new Korean drama that is tearing through the city. I told her no. Before I was studying Korean so I watched Korean shows, but now I'm studying Cantonese so I watch Cantonese movies. We went on to have a good conversation. She said a lot of things that I didn't understand, but I was able to respond and make comments, and we were still able to talk until the bus showed up. It was quite nice!
I think that's one advantage of being a foreigner: small talk. Hong Kong people don't seem to be much for small talk, which is quite different from where I grew up. Of course, I like talking to strangers, and I try to do it even more now because I want to practice. If I were a local, or even a waa4 kiu4 (overseas-born Chinese), I don't think they'd be so accepting of my small talk (or so I've been told). But since I'm a foreigner, and a fairly non-threatening one at that, I think people are more open. Either way, it works for me!