WO YOU PUTONG HUA LAOSHI
I’ve been living in China now going on 3 years. I figured, no problem, I’ll pick up Mandarin as I go along. Well it’s not turning out so well. So then I began looking for that special Chinese medicine that I can use to have me speaking Mandarin like a native in just 24 hrs. Apparently they haven’t got any of that around here. So now what? Go to school? Take some Chinese classes? Nope, not possible. Gets in the way of my travels. I would just be throwing away money and giving up. There’s only one way left for me at this point……
Find a private tutor! Lo and behold, I managed to find a great teacher. She has lots of patience. She doesn’t laugh at my pitiful attempts to make Chinese sounds, has no problem telling me the same things over and over, realizes I have been out of student mode for a number of years. And she is always right here after I return from some excursion.
Her name is Jasmine. She is from Nanjing. Jasmine comes over 2 times a week and gives it her best to teach me Mandarin. Although my brain hurts from all this exercise, I do enjoy it more and more. Now that I have a routine, it is not looking so overwhelming. Plus Jasmine is quite good at teaching.
I think in a month or so, I will know enough to go get a job driving a taxi here. I can tell the customer to just say left, right or go straight. I don’t know the word for stop, but I expect when they start screaming, I will just stop. Now I can get some payback for all those foreign taxi drivers I had to deal with in the states! Don;t even get me started about shopping in a 7-11.
Seriously, I am looking forward to at least being functional in China on my own. This is one place you have got to speak the language to get by. Having said that, in Kunming, most people speak a local dialect and not mandarin anyway. Still Mandarin is the most common language spoken in China, so that is what I’m shooting for.
On a personal note, I’ll be calling you soon Austin….. in Chinese. And Tim, next time in Seattle….. “we be talking!”