Sunday, February 27, 2011


(Italics indicate Mandarin)

Phone convo with a friend who's with someone whom she doesn't want overhearing our conversation: Come out with me to my friend's Christmas party tonight!
Me: Why would anyone have a Christmas party at the end of February?
Friend: Oops, I meant birthday.
Me: I'm not feeling too well, to be honest.
Friend: Well, if you change your... how do you say 'mind'?
Me (in jest): 头脑? (meaning 'brain')
Friend: You know what I mean! Anyway, give me a call.

This reminds of the time I said I'd rather not explain the rules and regulations of the lucky draw to an old man who only spoke Mandarin, and another friend said she'd do it. This what she said, "先生, 如果你 fill in 这个 form 你 可以 win 这个 prize." You may not understand Mandarin, but, surely, that's easy enough to get!

Still, it's better than the time I ordered food at home. I asked for soup (tāng) but used the wrong tone and accidentally asked for sugar (táng). The hawker lady ended up speaking to me in English, loudly and slowly after that.

And, of course, there was that time in Paris when I was so happy that the waiter was actually replying to me in French... up until the time I asked for half a box of wine instead of half a bottle. Ah well.

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