Sonia has been encouraging me to learn Chinese. I had actually always thought of Chinese as being far too hard for me to learn. But I'm almost half Chinese, and I've always been very proud of that.
I found a very good website that lets you download free PodCasts of Mandarin Chinese lessons. It also lets you download the transcript of each lesson: http://www.chinesepod.com. The style is light and funky, and they introduce an appropriate amount of information at a time. They had 58 podcasts in just the "Newbie" level. The service is free, with some premium features like tests and character-by-character transcripts for a fee ($9/monthly, $42 for six months, $60 for a year).