With all the posts about updating my blog, baking, and traveling across China, you’d think I never study. Well, in an ideal world, I’d be fluent in Mandarin already and have no problem understanding the street vendor when he rattles off a whole list of questions. In that world, the locals would understand what I’m saying when I try to explain where I’m from and what I’m doing in Shanghai, because my accent would be flawless and I wouldn’t keep confusing the qi’s, che’s, and zhe’s. But as this is not yet the case, I’m trying really hard to get there. My studies at Fudan are demanding and tiring (still getting used to my 6:30am alarm), but have so far been very rewarding. Here, take a sneak peak into the kind of characters I’ve been memorizing over the past 7 weeks:
What I love about Chinese is that the individual meaning of some of these characters seemingly has nothing to do with what they mean when you combine them. For example, take 东西 (dongxi). If you translate them directly, these characters would mean ‘east’ and ‘west’, but put together, it means ‘object, thing’. 买东西 (mai dongxi) then becomes ‘to buy something/to shop’. Now, 电脑 (diannao), directly translated means ‘electricity brain’, but together means ‘computer’. Yes, I know. Mind boggling.
So, my favorite word so far? Kiwi. 猕猴桃, or Míhóutáo. Why? Well, my teacher explained: “we think kiwi is a kind of peach, which is táo. And you know the little hairs? It’s like on a monkey”. Míhóutáo literally translated? Monkey peach. Brilliant.