Turning Chinese


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August 22nd 2009
Published: August 22nd 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Another pictureAnother pictureAnother picture

this was on the top of a mini mountain looking over the city.
Hola everyone!

I've been in China nearly two months!! Didn't I just write a post about my first month in China? For that matter it seems like just last week I was serving at Peppino's in Madison, crazy. Well the last week or so has been relatively tame, no typhoons, no scary late Cretaceous spiders, and no more toliet hugging bird flu. I've had a chance to slow down (just a little) practice my chinese and continue eating things I'd rather not.

I'm becoming better friends with people I work with and making some new friends as well. They are trying to teach me Mantanese, as I call it, and I'm nearly fluent already..... Believe me? No? Good. Really I am barely able to introduce myself properly but I'm working on it okay. Mantanese is my own strange personal mix of Cantonese and Mandarin. I live in Guandong province, the home of cantonese, so everyone speaks cantonese. HOWEVER in school from preschool on up they can ONLY speak Mandarin in the classroom, therefore everyone also speaks Mandarin.

I study only Mandarin. I hear almost exclusively Cantonese. I speak Mantanese. I sometimes mix langauges in one sentence, and I
My cityMy cityMy city

Zhongshan in the evening.
always mess up the different tones so everything becomes really confusing. This can lead to bad situations. For example I was once invited to traditional family style dinner with a female friend of mine. After the dinner she was going to going to drive me home and I was trying to properly say thank you in cantonese to everyone. I totally butchered it. I asked her later what I had said to her family as we left. Apparently what I said sounded more nearly like "I'm excited, I'm excited, I'm excited!".. maybe not the best thing to be saying to a family as you leave with their daughter. I just have no luck.

Speaking chinese CAN be a lot of fun. Having that breakthrough moment when you know someone understands what you are saying makes you want to work a lot harder. Normally when I first start speaking chinese to someone I get one of three responses. One, they don't even realize that Im speaking chinese because, "westerners don't speak chinese!", so they don't even think to try and listen, they assume you are incapable. Two, immediate laughter. I think its because they arn't expecting it.. that and I
parkparkpark

another park in the evening
sound like a toddler who is learning to speak with an accent. Three, shock and awe. Jaw dropping confusion, "what the hell just came out of his mouth, Oh my God, he speaks my language". Number three is often followed by a quick onslaught of rapid chinese I can't understand and probably the thoughts of "oh. nevermind".

I have been "turning chinese" more and more everyday. Things that are now normal to me include: using chopsticks, umbrellas in the sunshine, chinese toliets, 3 deep motorcycle passengers, eating rice EVERYDAY, two store attendents per customer, 15 minute 'typhoons', shoes sold in saran wrap, and many others. Maybe more interesting are things that now feel foreign to me such as forks, obeying traffic laws, western people, and dvds sold in hard plastic cases. I went to a Pizza Hut for the first time last week wanting a pepperoni pizza. Turns out they don't sell pepperoni pizza, its all mostly pasta and other strange stuff. I ordered some pasta and they only had forks... I was confused. I hadn't used a single fork in almost two months. Obviously I remembered how but it felt very strange. Watching the Chinese eat with forks
Korean FoodKorean FoodKorean Food

Classic Korean. On the table is pumkin, dried seaweed, little shrimps, and other appetizers.
and knives can be quite entertaining too. I imagine it looked like me using chopsticks for the first few times.

An update on new food for me this week includes pig tongue, field frogs, and eggplant covered with what tasted like sloppy joe but Im SURE the meat wasn't hamburger. Ya know, a lot of times I can be happily enjoying something and when I figure out what it is, I'm ruined. The pig tongue was really good untill I knew it was pig tongue. Although my food preferences are changing. I suddenly love onions when before I hated them and hand pulled noodles are always worth waiting for. I also have a growing fascination with the rediculas number of ways rice can be used in a dish. I honestly think a lot of it is.. when you are hungry you eat and if you are hungry enough it tastes great too. There are no Volcano Tacos or Nacho Supremes in my near future.

I'm essentially finished with all of my classes. I only have two Kindgarden classes remaining and I LOVE the kindergarden classes. The kids leave class looking like they walked through a magic sticker themed
hair-ologyhair-ologyhair-ology

I think I'll stick to my hair place with the hour long massages.
amusement park. FUN. After class I am taking a holiday and traveling to an ancient chinese city located high in the mountains alongside a river. I am beyond excited, the pictures look like paradise.

Okay thats all. Thanks for listening, Zai Jain!


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Confusing SignConfusing Sign
Confusing Sign

do you understand what is going on?
scooter cityscooter city
scooter city

lots of bikes. lots of bikes.
Chinese Boat.Chinese Boat.
Chinese Boat.

All the boats in the delta look like they are 100 years old.
Chinese TolietChinese Toliet
Chinese Toliet

there is NOTHING missing from this new toliet. You supply your own hole in the floor.
parkpark
park

park at sunset
Chinese towerChinese tower
Chinese tower

I can't remember what these are called...
BadmintonBadminton
Badminton

Badminton is a very serious game in the PRC.
buildingsbuildings
buildings

buildings
Bad englishBad english
Bad english

can't wait to get me one of them refrigeratos!
my catmy cat
my cat

oh hi little cat! how is life today?


25th August 2009

I love it
Nathan, Still amazed at your letters and pictures. I guess if you're hungry enough you'll eat anything. As long as it isn't raw. What's the phonetic sound for the two words you sign at the end? And the translation? Enjoy every minute. It's an adventure you'll never forget. I can just picture your students. I bet they love you. Thanks and love, Grandma
From Blog: Turning Chinese
28th August 2009

Helllllooooo Nate!
Hi Nate - Sounds like your adventures are still going strong. Can't wait to see the pictures when you go to the ancient city. Hopefully you did get the envelope with stickers - let me know if those are the kinds you want. Don't get too Chinese on us - although I'm sure many of their customs and "ways" will become natural to you. Take care and be careful! Love, Aunt Chris Sr.
From Blog: Turning Chinese
29th August 2009

translation!
"Zai Jain" is chinese for "goodbye" phonetically it is said "Zye Jee-en"
From Blog: Turning Chinese
29th August 2009

I havn't gotten the package just yet, from what i've heard sometimes the post office here can screw things up from time to time, I'm sure it will make it, just a matter of time.
From Blog: Turning Chinese

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