Mastering Chinese

January 17th, 2011
Location: Coffee Bean
Time: 2:05 pm

Monday blog update!  And that’s about as exciting as this will get.

On Saturday night I had my first full-fledged conversation in Chinese.  It captured nearly every word I know and it lasted about 30 seconds.  It went something like this:

I enter the cab and say “Nǐ hǎo! Zhongtan Lu.” at which point I show him my address saved in my phone because for some inexplicable reason I can’t get that first to second tone down.

The cab driver says: “Ah, Zhongtan Lu.”

I say: “Dui” (correct).

The cab driver then says something to the effect of: “Do you want to go left, right, straight, up, or down?” (Elevated road or side-streets – which would be the down bit)

I say: “Wǒ bù zhīdào” (I don’t know).

Cab driver: “That’s okay.  You don’t know, but I know.” (Again, to the effect of)

I say: “Hěn hǎo” (Very good).

End conversation.

Except not, because then my cab driver assumed I knew Chinese and he proceeded to have a full-on one-sided conversation with me/himself while I sat with a blank look on my face until “Billie Jean” came on and then we rocked out to Michael Jackson all the way home. It was a bonding moment.

We arrived at my apartment with some more savvy Chinese from me: “yīzhì zǒu” (keep going straight), “yòu guǎi” (turn right) and “ting!” (stop). These were of course accompanied by hand-gestures because let’s be real –  I am so blatantly awful that I don’t trust my words alone to convey meaning.

I then say: “Dào le!” (Arrived! – um, or so I assume from my metro rides . . . )

I give him money, he says: “Xièxiè! Zàijiàn.” I respond in-kind.   

And therein you have 5 months of Chinese language immersion.  Oh wait – I can also say “Wǒ yào kāfēi.”  Obviously.  Priorities in-check.

In other news:  My roommate and I cannot figure out how to change our mop head. We are on the verge of buying a whole new mop altogether. 

I think it’s safe to say that this country has defeated me this go'round.  But it’s nothing a little MJ can’t fix . . . So . . .  

Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin' how funky strong is your fight
It doesn't matter who's wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it

*In Chinese, they don’t have tenses. Therefore, my mixing of tenses in this post is simply in keeping with the Chinese essence. . . . go with it.*

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