This past weekend on a teacher's trip to a rainforest that was organized by the kindergarten, I learned what people in China say as they are about to have their picture taken. Because many hundreds of pictures were taken. And this word was said many hundreds of times.
What? Doesn't make as much sense as saying "cheese"??? Ok, it sounds better in Mandarin.
qié zi (sounds like "cheeyeh tzuh") (kind of)
As the massive amounts of picture-taking began, I thought I heard people saying the Mandarin word for eggplant but thought nooooo, that can't be right. And by the way, the only reason I even know the Mandarin word for eggplant is because I ate some the first week I arrived in China and it became my new favorite dish, so I learned to say the word IMMEDIATELY.
And now as I repeat qié zi, qié zi, qié zi over and over out loud (to myself, alone in my apartment…what? Stop staring)… I realize how similar it sounds to "cheese" and I wonder which came first?…the cheese or the eggplant?!
And here are photos of that day (I also learned that you're supposed to make the peace fingers in every photo)...