As if I didn't have enough on my plate, now I've signed up for ten hours of Chinese classes. Why now? Well for one, it helps that someone else (namely the school where I teach full-time) is footing the bill. So now that I'm actually doing this, I'm going all the way i.e. learning to actually read and write Chinese characters. And it's practically killing me... It's not the 10 hours of class a week, but the studying and practicing of 40 new Chinese characters a week. Studying Chinese alone is a full-time job!
There are no shortcuts, there's no way around learning and memorizing Chinese characters short of practicing writing each one, one by one- unless you happen to have a photographic memory! It's really starting to take over my life, but I realize it's what I need to do. I just need to "do the time" to reach my goal of at least being able to read a Chinese language newspaper.