About one year has passed since I began a language exchange with Zhao, a Chinese guy living in Japan. In the beginning we conversed in English and he would teach me the basics of Chinese, mostly the pronunciation and basic conversations. Alas for my lack of talent in learning a new language, as my progress was very slow indeed, although that might have something to do with my lack of interest as well. Several months after that we switched from the tedious step-by-step Chinese learning towards something that interested us both more: Chinese chess.
I've gotten better since I first started, and I finally managed to win a game against Zhao about a month ago. Today we played again, and I won the first game, but I lost the second game due to an oversight in the end. In fact, every loss of mine has been due to an oversight in the end. I miss a crucial move and don't realize that my king is in danger, and the next thing I know he already checkmated me. Usually I'm too focused on getting his strong pieces instead of going after his king directly, and that's why I lost. Recently things are going better though, and I really enjoy playing. It's a great exercise for my brain, provided that I'm awake enough after work to concentrate on the game. I hope I can get better :D