Monday, March 5, 2012

Little by little

My new favorite Chinese word:
dumpling (with meat and vegetable stuffing)

We had these for lunch last week at the kindergarten, and they are delicious. The principal told me that even the kids go home and ask their mommies to please make the jiǎozi like they do at school.

Not only is jiǎozi delicious, it's a fun word to say. Sounds like this: jee-yow-tsuh (I think!)

This morning we took the kiddos to a nearby farm to pick strawberries. The kindergarten does this trip once a year, and the kids love it. The weather was amazingly beautiful, the sun was shining brightly, warm breeze blowing, and the 100+ kids running up and down the rows of strawberries with their floppy hats and wicker baskets was just too much. There were times I just stood there in the middle of the field looking around, laughing at how much fun the kids were having, feeling the breeze, and appreciating life.

After school today my coworker drove me to another part of town and I had acupuncture on my foot again. My left big toe goes numb from time to time, and sometimes it is painful, and sometimes the numbness spreads to other toes. It's been better these past couple of weeks. The first time I got acupuncture, a couple of weeks ago in Hong Kong, the doctor was very gentle and I barely felt a thing. This time the guy had a less than gentle touch, and he poked the needle really hard into my big toe. He did that twice and didn't leave the needle in, so not sure what that was all about. But it hurt enough for me to go to my happy place, doing some deep breathing. Then periodically he would twirl the needles that he had stuck into the other points in my left foot. Not painful, but not pleasant.

Today as I was standing waiting for the elevator to go back up to my apartment, there were two women waiting right next to me. They looked at me and then looked back to each other and started talking, and I heard one of them laugh and say, "She doesn't understand what we're saying..." and I quickly interjected in Mandarin, "I understand a little!" They whipped their heads to me with eyes all big. Then I smiled and said, "nǐ hǎo!" (hello!) It's going to be so much fun keeping people on their toes as I learn more and more Mandarin. Or I can just pretend to not know it and eavesdrop on all sorts of conversations.

Today's encounter reminded me of the other day when I was on a walk, and as I was walking by a man and woman sitting outside in front of a shop, they looked at me and I heard the woman say to the man "lǎowài" (rhymes with cow pie, I think) which is a term used to refer to foreigners. And from what I understand, depending on the tone, it can be used in a derogatory sort of way. So I quickly snapped my head to the woman and smiled really big, and she just sort of froze, again with the big eyeballs, like oops, got me!

Tonight I went for a little walk right before dark just to feel the evening air and cool off a bit since it's been so sticky humid here, and I stumbled upon a clothing store very near my apartment. They had gobs of clothing in my sizes, so I picked up some shorts and t-shirts and a pair of big 'ol flip-flops for my giant feet, success! Due to the sweaty humid weather, I've been doing laundry nearly every single day and taking 2 to 3 showers a day. It's nuts. Hopefully my body will either adjust to the climate and these things won't be as necessary, or maybe I'll just stop caring about being so sweaty.

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