I know that when you first start reading, it’s hard to hold a narrative thread through a longer post, but give this one a try – 6 short paragraphs, all of them very straightforward. This one has mostly very beginner language, with a couple of intermediate or upper-intermediate words. The grammar, rather than the vocab, is probably the hard part of this post, which is an great survey of every basic Chinese sentence structure. If you can read this, your foundation in Chinese grammar is very solid.
A few notable points:
I figure that might be confusing for new readers, since there are two different uses of the word 过 guò here. I tend to find that the easiest way to remember what 过 means in every context is that it almost always means either “past” or “pass”, or one of many variations thereon. Let’s look a few usages of 过.
1) In the most common usage, the one we see earliest in our learning, 过, when used after an action, means that the action has “been done before”, or “has been done in the past”, as in “Have you ever been to Shanghai (in the past)?” （你去过上海吗?), or “Have you ever eaten this type of fish (in the past)?” (你吃过这种鱼吗?).
2) Usage two, 过去, means “to pass by”, as in “The days passed one by one” (一关一天就过去了).
3) Usage three, also 过去, means “The Past”, a noun, as in the opposite of the future. “To forget the past is a betrayal.” (忘记过去，就意味着背叛)
4) The fourth usage is “to pass (time)”, or “to pass one’s days” (过日子), or to “How were you [how did you pass] the last few days?” (这些天过得怎么样？).
5) Another 过去 – to “pass across”, “to cross” (as in a river or street).
6) 过去 “to pass by” (someone or something).
And on and on. In our sentence here, we’re using #4 first, and then #2.
“He passed [his days] very happily, time flew past.”
Make sense? Hope so, because several different usages of 过去 come up in this post, so keep an eye out.
One more thing:
咱们 zán men. This means “us” or “we”. I know, I know, you learned that 我们 means “us” and “we”, and it does. 咱们 only refers to “us” and “we” when the speaker is including the person they’re talking to. So 咱们 means really “You and I”, not “we”. Confusing, right? Here are some examples：
我们： “Sorry, you can’t come with us, we’re going to see a movie alone.” (The person being spoken to is not included in the “we”.)
咱们： “Why don’t we see a movie this afternoon?” （The speaker is including the person spoken to in the “we”.)
我们： “I’ll call you as soon as we get back.” (The person being spoken to is not included in the “we”.)
咱们： “What should we do when we get back?” （The speaker is including the person spoken to in the “we”.)
我们： “We’re not home right now, leave a message!” (The person being spoken to is not included in the “we”.)
咱们： “We could go home right now and check the messages.” （The speaker is including the person spoken to in the “we”.)