Learning the language, it is worth to do the same as learning some country: note the peculiarities down, until they are still peculiarities. Later one gets used to it.
Large numbers in Mandarin (as also in Japanese) go in succession of 10-thousends, not thousends as in Western style. Means you say 100 000 as 10 0000 =yi(1) wan(4). This is the reason why chinese speakers have troubles with larger numbers in other languages, it is not the language matter, but way of counting!
The same is with gender, as it does not exist in Chinese, it is imperceivable for them in other languages.
One my friend, Czech of "Mech, Lech and Czech", David V. is right: it IS fun speaking it, as your brain has to go different ways, I was laughing today trying to say 37520! Constructing (simple) sentences-as it is extremely simple matter, in fact, because of little grammar -is also fun of a kind, logical play, but with queer logics.
It comes as learning use of left hand for writing for right-hander, in a sense.
On pinyin and bpmf (romanisation or zhuyin fuhao for writing down the pronounciation): really, to know both is useful, for pinyin can be misleading for English speakers, and for single words it is really batter to use bpmf to write it down.
But, for longer texts, it is much easier, if you do not know Chinese characters yet, to write text down in pinyin, even if you write incorrect tones at first, you wil be able to correct them later. Taiwanese probably can do it with BPMF, but some exercise with this is, really, needed. It is not so easy as with hiragana and katakana in Japanese, because of tonal writing, not sound.
Anyway, as you see, I have some fun with it, and will have for some time to come. Why? And why not?