Who was your Chinese teacher? What medium of instruction he or she used to teach you Chinese at the time you did not know a single word in Chinese?
I went to evening classes in UK where I learnt hanyu pinyin . There was a good book and the teacher used English to teach. This is also the method we use at The Mandarin Centre of New Era College. Our Mandarin teachers also use English to teach Mandarin, and it is the method used by the famous Beijing Language University.
What were the difficulties you faced when you first learned Chinese?
I didn't have the right environment in the UK to practice it. Over in Malaysia, you can practice Mandarin with any Chinese Malaysian you meet in the street or shops. The best way is of course to find a close friend or lover who only speaks Mandarin!