Thursday, July 3, 2008

Moment of truth: my Chinese = 还可以 (the truth hurts)

Finally I am well enough to leave the house. Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with our ayi. I was telling her that we are going to a holiday and that she doesn’t have to come for five weeks. She looked at me suspiciously, so I decided I’d write it down for her on a piece of paper.

I did (without using a dictionary –haha!!!) and passed it over. She looked at it with an amused smile and I asked her if she could read my children-like-hanzi.

-Hihi… yes… I understand.
-I’m glad to hear, I know I write like a child.
-Hehe… your Chinese is okay!

Okay. Hm…. Well. That definitely means: it sucks! U know why? Well, she used the very polite phrase:

你的中文还可以 = ni de zhong wen hai ke yi = your Chinese is okay/so-so.

When something is 还可以 (hai ke yi= ok) in China, that is a polite way to say: it’s not so good! Chinese people rarely tell you that your Chinese sucks. Instead they use the word okay. But I know what she means. My Chinese is poor. God dammit! Why is this language so frigging hard to learn?!

Speaking of learning the language, today I have a new exam: 听视 (ting shi = listening/ television) You watch movies and answer questions. Shouldn’t be too hard, but then again, for someone who’s Chinese is simply 还可以 it might prove to be harder than expected (ok, ok, I'll stop sulking).

Oh well, enough with the whining. It’s going to be nice to get out of the door. Due to my stomach flue I’ve been sort of stranded in our flat. After the exam I am going to the gym (ahhhhh finally! 2 days of no movement except for the usual: toilet-bedroom-kitchen-TV… and my whole body is itching!) and then I have to prepare for tomorrow’s exam: spoken Chinese and presentations.

Hm… sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. After the exam on Friday I’ll squeeze in a quick run before I jump on the train to Shanghai to cork up some wine bottles with my girlfriends. Well needed. Hopefully also well-deserved!?

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