Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ni hui shuo Yingwen ma?

Yesterday we went on the same hike we went on last weekend, only this time we stopped every once in awhile to actually look up at the scenery. At the top we got some noodles with the assistance of a nice woman who, seeing our struggle with knowing what was available and how to communicate to the man what we wanted, explained what was in each pot and then ordered for us.

While it was delicious, we were hungry again by the time we reached home. We stopped at a stall that we walk by almost everyday but have never stopped at. Unlike the carts we go to, her food was not out so we couldn't just point at what we wanted. Nor did we know if she even had anything that we could eat. So, I used one of the two sentences I know in Chinese - do you speak English? I didn't expect her to, but it never hurts to ask. She responded with a bunch of words I didn't understand - it could have been "crazy lady, what are you talking about? What language are you speaking?" for all I know - because I have no clue if I pronounce anything correctly. I told her we didn't want meat, and she understood that. Jeremiah used the translate function on his iphone and asked her for no meat and no eggs, that we were vegetarian. Through lots of back and forth with the lady and another customer who knew a little english we got our food. The best part of this story for me is the end. It was time to pay, we just didn't know how much. This is the other of the two sentences I know - how much does it cost? - so from my seat where I was trying to talk to the other customer I said it in Chinese. And the lady I was talking to looked impressed and said "that was right!" and "very good!" This made my day. I felt like the kid who finally got an answer right in school. Maybe I'll up my Chinese knowledge to three sentences soon!


  1. Tai Hao Le! (means "great" or "wonderful". literally it translates to "excessively good.")

    Learning a language is all about those little victories. They do feel good.

  2. my fav - 'tai gui la!' - too expensive
    'ni you huang se de ma?' - does that come in yellow?


  3. you two are adorable. and you look healthy too. and happy. and cute. yeah.