How do you maintain acquired languages

I'm a Chinese native speaker though I rarely speak Chinese now, except chatting with my sister on the phone over the weekend (I live in Europe with no local Chinese acquaintance). All my post-graduate education (in science) was in English. I learned German and Japanese on my own. I passed JLPT N1 (138/180) in 2017 and I passed C2 in German (four subjects average 85/100) early this year. I also studied Italian on my own and I plan to sit for the C2 exam in December. I passed CILS B2 in 2016. As the exam questions of the C1 and the C2 are quite similar, I decided to tackle the C2 directly. Now the exam date is approaching, I feel I need at least another year to prepare for it! Are there any other Italian learners here? Can we help each other out?!

I love collecting words, expressions and sentences - if I can eat them I'll definitely become obese. I dream in all the languages I acquired beside my mother tongue. I guess I just love languages. Having spent quite some time learning languages, I still find it very hard to integrate things I've learned. I often become frustrated because I can't organise my thoughts in Italian, because words in other languages pop up and I get carried away.

I don't actually understand how the different languages function in my cognitive system. Many times I am surprised in which language I talk to myself in unexpected situations. Acquired languages are like children and parents usually tend most to the weakest child - Italian in my case. Whenever I catch myself reacting in Italian I would encourage my Italian-speaking self: brava! But I also appreciate the active participation of all the other language speakers...

I would like to know how do you deal with the situation, how to nurture the acquired languages, how to divide the limited hours among the different worlds.

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