Sometimes motivation is just like a switch: without it you might think you can achieve something, but several months later it becomes a mere memory; with it, action flows like breathing. And such is my ceaseless study of the Chinese language. In China, over a year and a half ago, and in the weeks after, again I found my stride and lifted my general level. And then the power dissipated in the competing demands of life.
Now, again, on the scent of an imminent trip, I've swung my mind into a complete state of lingual urgency: absorb everything, spare nothing: not even a single character. My listening has almost reawakened; I still occasionally am overcome by streams of language, but generally it all goes in. My vocabulary will be the hardest to reactivate but some promising signs have emerged already; I've been hearing four-character phrases that I haven't seen for ages and recognising them. Feeling I was being misunderstood by one of the many agents in China, I launched a comprehensive Chinese e-mail to clarify what is a major city and what is not, and why a position in a major city is of high importance to me. And reading, apart from a few rogue sentences, has been fine.
All in all, nothing will stop me till my direction changes, and that could be quite some time!