Published: August 22nd 2009
August 22nd 2009
this was on the top of a mini mountain looking over the city.
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
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
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
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
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!
There are more photos below