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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Tongginator and Mandyrin

(We’ve been having major internet issues, so I’ve been writing posts, but they aren’t always getting emailed back to the States.  I often can’t access my email, much less blogs or Facebook.  Y’all may see three or four posts published in one day as we play catch-up.  Deal with it.  Heh.)

I love being back in Beijing, y’all.  It feels so different from our first trip.  In 2005, the Husband and I rarely wandered beyond the confines of our travel group itinerary.  This time we feel much more comfortable wandering off on our own, making the locals laugh with my attempts at Mandyrin.  (No, y’all, I do not have a Southern accent.  I used to have one.  I miss having one.  But I don’t anymore… except when I try to speak Mandarin.  And then my mid-Atlantic accent morphs into drawl mode and Mandarin becomes Mandyrin.)

My big claim to fame on Friday was ordering take-out for my mom and the Tongginator.

I didn’t know the phrase for take-out, but with a few creative Mandyrin phrases, some gestures and lots of intellect from the waitress, she plopped down a take-out container and ordered extra dishes for my momma and the Tongginator.  (They were taking a much needed afternoon nap.)  I think the wait staff laughed at my attempts, but the Husband was impressed.

And – since he’s the one I live with – I’ll go with that.

I’ve wandered off on my own several times while the Husband took the Tongginator to the hotel pool.  My pictures aren’t the best, as I am not A Photographer like Carla, Gail, Lisa and so many others, but I’m happy with the shots, and I hope the Tongginator and Mei Mei will love them as well.  It feels like this time I’ve captured more of “the flavor” of China with my photographs as opposed to the typical tourist snapshots.

I’ve also managed to stumble my way through a few other conversations with locals, and – after three days in Beijing – the Tongginator is now starting to speak a bit of Mandarin to others.  She rarely moves beyond the basics of hello, goodbye, thank you and the like, but it’s good to hear her gain confidence.  She’s also very much enjoying being one of a majority for a change.  It’s tickled her funny bone in a huge way having Mom and Dad stick out in the crowd for once.

These past few days have been hard.  I’m not gonna lie.  The Tongginator did not adjust to China time as easily as we’d hoped, not to mention the other, non-jet-lag-related stresses.  But it’s ALL been worth it, just to hear her sweetly say “ni zao” to a waitress at the breakfast buffet or “dui bu qi” to someone who says thank you to her.

Or "xiong mao," which means panda bear when she meant to simply say "mao" for cat.  I have warped her for life.  Heh.


Myrnie said...

What a sweet, sweet thing for your family!!

adoptionparadox said...

Isn't one supposed to say "bu (yong) ke qi" in response to "xie xie"?

the meaklims said...

Haha! I totally understand this post. I haven't lived in Ireland for 11 years, I really don't think I have an accent now, at least I don't have a strong accent like I used to. But I'm told by Canadians that when I don't know what I'm talking about, my accent becomes very thick and strong again!! Sounds maybe like you don't know what you're talking about either! Haha! You know I'm kidding with you.

Glad to hear you're having fun!


the meaklims said...

That's funny, I just read the first 2 paragraphs of your post because I didn't notice the read more link underneath. Sorry. I just found it. Funny I thought the posts were very short for some reason!

It sounds like both you and the Tongginator are doing an amazing job at the language.

Love your photos.


The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh you guys must be so super tired:) Praying for you to adjust quickly, especially before you meet Mei Mei!!!!!!!!!!! I love you are trying out the language...I tell God all the time that i will go anywhere he wants me to but please don't make me learn an Asian language...lol...Spanish was hard enough for me! Praying for you guys and love you bunches and bunches!!!

wallaby78 said...

Yes, bu yong xie or bu ke qi would probably be better as a response to xie xie. Also, for future reference, "打包
dǎbāo" means takeout :)

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, I am so happy for you. And only a little jealous that your whole family is in China...and about to get bigger! Love you.

planetnomad said...

What's the good of traveling if your internet is the same anywhere? Or something! ;) Great to hear from you and how fun that TM is enjoying herself. Jet lag is always always such a drag.

Holly said...

I for one am VERY impressed that you can speak at all and that you are brave enough to try your skills out with the locals! way to go! oh and I am also very impressed that you are such a pro at capturing shots of your oldest daughter NOT looking at the camera. Really! I am thinking it is time you should have Mei Mei! not sure what your actual schedule is but we always got our new children on a Sunday and finalized on a Monday....it is Monday here in Arizona...so it is Tuesday morning there!! Waiting eagerly for news!