Sorry… it’s been busy. We have folks in town and have been doing a fair amount of hosting. It is nice to have the opporunity to show people around and get a sense of how our life here looks to fresh eyes.

It’s just started raining – the atmosphere dumping the humidity in preparation for another cold spell. A high tomorrow only the high 50s while it has been in the high 70s for the past couple of weeks. I know that you folks back in Vermont are having real winter weather at last, but when everything is drafty and nothing is heated 56 degress and cloudy is cold, particularly since the cooler night-time temperatures turn the tiles covering the floors and many of the walls into little ice packs that keep the apartment even colder than the day-time high. Fortunately, we are taking our solstice trip to Hong Kong this weekend – skipping a good portion of the cold snap. It won’t be any warmer in HK but presumably the hotel will have heat.

My cooking lesson has been rescheduled for a later date but I will definitely bring fruit and, if I get to the import store before then, some seasonally appropriate American item. Thanks, Janna!

I’m actually making some progress with the language. In the last few days I have held things that kind of resemble conversations – picking up a few words and aided by contextual clues and gestures, I piece together what the other person is saying and then am able to offer a few words and gestures in response that the other person is able to decipher. Let me reconstruct and translate a conversation I had yesterday. I am particularly proud of it on account of the fact that it was a rather lengthy exchange for someone who didn’t speak a word of the language 4 months ago and because there was only 1 word (semester) that I did not know.

Mei-mei and I are outside looking at the goldfish in the pond. One of the security guards walks by.

GD: Good morning? Hello little sister (to Mei-mei)!

ME: Good morning!

GD: Ah… pretty (talking about Mei-mei)

ME: Thank you.

GD: Does she speak Mandarin?

ME: She understands a little. She is shy.

GD: Where is big sister?

ME: She is at kindergtarten. She speaks Mandarin very well.

GD: Little sister is too small for kindergarten? How old?

ME: 2 1/2. She will begin at kindergarten in March. (in English) Next semester.

GD: How old is big sister?

ME: She’s 4.

GD: OK. Goodbye.

ME: Goodbye.

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1 Response to Update

  1. Janna Clar says:

    Congrats on your dui-hua at the pond! Regarding the “next semester (xia xueqi)” missing phrase: The “xia/ge” (next) and “shang/ge” (last) usage is a great one to learn, if you haven’t already. Useful in most every temporal context (except years and days, which have their own special vocabulary). This special pair of opposites is also useful when talking about getting on/off a vehicle (ie “xia che”), going/getting up and down in general (ie “shang lai”), and some other frequently used verbal phrases.

    RE: the cold temps with no heat in your apartment, etc. maybe you’ve already discovered them, but in the same circumstances (including teaching), I found knit fingerless gloves to be lifesavers. Also, hot footbaths in basins morning and night work wonders — do the locals do that so far south?

    Enjoy your solstice/travels. Yi lu shun feng.

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