Hello. Thank you.
Guten tag. Danke.
Selamat … Terima Kasih.
G’day. How ya goin’? Cheers mate.
2 of the first, and sometimes the only, words/phrases I try to learn when in a new country because the least I could do is greet and appreciate you in your own language!
“Ni hao” and “xie xie” are how you spell them in Mandarin. But pronunciation is proving to be an entirely different and new hurdle. As I’ve yet to use them with a stranger without that few second delay until the realization of what I’m actually trying to say.
I have to think it’s our version of deciphering “15” vs “50” or “sank you!” in the right accent in ‘Merican. Or worse – someone using the wrong version of their/there/they’re… gasp! Right?
So on top my language lessons in China, I also get to learn new customs. Just basic nuances you never notice in daily life until they’re different. The biggest unexpected ones this week include:
1. They honk. A lot. Which is good, because 2 particularly vigilant cab driver horns saved us from clueless bus and truck drivers.
2. Bentley is to China like ambulance is to the US. You in a hurry and need a path through traffic? Get a driver that knows how to be a Bentley chaser!
3. ‘Quite’ is used QUITE a lot here. Actually in Asia in general.
(4 is unlucky. It’s our “unlucky” 13)
5. Asians don’t like to wait for the elevator to close and are just in an inexplicable hurry in general. And eye contact during a 33 floor ride is not standard.
6. Asians chew with their mouths open. A lot. Full on professional business dinner while I hold back childish jokes about see-food! 🙂 But to be fair, they think it’s really weird that I eat boiled eggs with my hands for breakfast. ‘Wow! So much protein!’
7. Just because someone nods and says yes, does not indicate that they agree nor understand you.
1 yes = I heard words
2 yups = I heard all of the words
3 uh-huhs = I understood the words
4 affirmatives= I agree with the words
Or at least that’s what I’ve deduced with some help from my brother.
And last but absolutely not least….
There is a ridiculously beautiful amount of old gorgeous temple meets brand new, biggest city in China, 24 million people culture.
And I did manage to find my way…
In the rain…
To the Jing’an Temple…
With gorgeous Buddhas!! (ok, this might not actually be Buddha, I don’t know, but it was pretty!)
Needless to say … I’ve got a lot of practice in my future. And many more visits to make. But did get the thumbs up today that Chinese lessons are slated to begin this year!!
Dú wàn juǎn shū bùrú xíng wànlǐ lù.
“Reading ten thousand books is not as useful as traveling ten thousand miles.”
– Chinese Proverb