I'm hearing impaired, so it's not as easy for me to learn spoken languages. I thought learning to write the characters was quite do-able for me, though I can certainly see the advantages of the phonetic alphabet. The tones are hard for me, I have to admit. Years later, I can remember many words but not the tones, so I would have to speak very flatly or risk saying the word in the absolute wrong tone. I never gained fluency, though years later (with no practice in between) I was able to use what I knew during a trip to China for a few necessary items, like finding the exit in one place, and ordering a pizza in another place. I wasn't even conversational, but I remembered enough words and sentences to get by with "baby talk" (again, it had been years since I studied it, so I forgot most of it). If you have a flair for languages, and if I, a hearing impaired person, could study it, I'm sure you'll be fine.