Thursday, June 14, 2012

rotten asparagus and the state of my chinese

{day five} first lessons: it's all about the hand position

{day five} the girl got herself a bike

If you break your day up into twenty minute segments, you would be amazed at how many things can be done. I think at this stage of our lives, twenty minute segments is the way to go. Half hour... too long. Fifteen minutes... too short. Twenty minutes. Perfect. I don't know how I came upon this magical number. But it is even finding it's way into my nap... which just happened to be twenty lovely minutes long today. 

My son just walked up to the computer and saw this picture of Scout. "That is soooome girl." was all he said. Reminded me of Wilbur. But he's right. She is quite a girl. She's something alright.

I took all four kids to the market this morning. I ride on the front of our three wheeled scooter, with the baby strapped to me, and the other three ride on the little seat in back. My Chinese teacher says this is "very interesting" because the three wheeled scooters are typically only used by the old or infirm. I suppose having four children in China puts me in the class of the infirm. When I drove to the large grocery store the other day, I noticed the parking sign for large scooters said in it's awkwardly translated English, "three wheel park for very old." I felt ashamed and misplaced. I was not very old, but I did have the three wheeler. Would they yell at me? Would they look scornfully at me? But my teacher just says they will think it is "very interesting."

I have been meeting with her, my teacher, every day this week for 2 hours. In the five years we have been here, I have studied off and on as babies and schedules allowed, and that has amounted to approximately one year of formalized study. The rest has been picked up here and there through things I read or hear or ask. This has served me okay, but I'm finding this week that I have a lot of bad habits, and have been confusing people for years now with my backwards way of saying some things. Such as, the Chinese put "le"  (sounds like luh) on the end of nearly everything they say (it seems), so some time ago when I was made aware of that, I started doing it too. I know sometimes it makes a phrase present tense and sometimes it makes a phrase past tense and yet there are plenty of times when you shouldn't do it, like when you are saying something in the negative I guess, so when I just found that out yesterday I realized how out of control my use of "le" really is. Basically I've just been piece-mealing together words and phrases with abandon and now have to deconstruct quite a bit of it. But I did have a small success in calling the piano tuner, which I've waited nearly an entire year to do and our poor neglected upright is starting to sound like a bad bar-room honkey tonk.

Anyway, we went to the market, the kids and I, with my newly brushed up, deconstructed Chinese and I found asparagus! What a treat! Only to come home and find the entire mid section of the bundle rotting out and moldy. The smell reminded me of old, wet shoes. It was disappointing. I didn't feel like hauling everyone back on that "very interesting" scooter to make my complaint. And perhaps my "le" would get in the way of my explanation and we would be sent home with a Chinese herbal remedy for old, wet shoes or something.

But if you think about the fact that you bought a bushel of rotten asparagus for no more than twenty minutes, you're bound to be okay. You just move on to the next thing.le

No comments:

Post a Comment