Tree Lazies in the Mist

In honor of my husband and my onward assignment–our next post will be in South America, near the Amazon Rain Forest!–our Chinese teacher used this week’s class to teach us some related vocabulary. Some of the terms were intriguing, even charming:

yǔ lín (雨林) – Rain Forest

shù lǎn (树懒) – Sloth (the Chinese literally means “tree lazy,” which is adorable and accurate. This my favorite vocab term since I discovered the German word for raccoon: Waschbär, or “washing bear.” You know, because they wash their little faces with both hands?)

But then our lesson took a slightly darker turn:

è yú (鳄鱼) – Crocodile (or “hungry fish”)

shí rén yú (食人鱼)- Piranha (the Chinese literally translates as “eat man fish”)

wén zi (蚊子) – Mesquito

dēng gé rè (登革热) – Dengue Fever

wēi xiǎn (危险) – Dangerous

A sane person might have begun feeling a touch trepidatious at that point–might even have begun reconsidering their move to a locale that could inspire such vocabulary.

Me? I just gave a mental shrug and thought, “Eh? Why not?”

I guess that means I’m officially adapting to Foreign Service life.

*Adorable sloth photo courtesy of Flickr, Wikimedia Commons

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Dotted Lines & Dynamic Books

If you’ve noticed some radio silence ’round these parts, it’s because my husband and I recently enjoyed a lengthy R&R back in the States. Usually, I’m pretty rigorous with myself about my writing time. But with long-missed friends and family to see–and a few chilly surf sessions thrown in for good measure–I granted myself permission to take a blogging break.

Proof that Dad and I faced off with the 48°F water and 20-25 MPH northerly winds to go Post-Christmas surfing.
Proof that Dad and I faced off with the 48°F water and 20-25 MPH northerly winds to go Post-Christmas surfing.

But of course, all holidays must come to a close; thus I’ve returned to both my writing and my Chinese language lessons.

The transition back has been less than elegant.

As I found myself staring off with my  Chinese lǎo shī (teacher) at that first lesson following my six-week siesta, I knew I was doing a pitiful job concealing my lack of practice in the interim. All my vows to rehearse my vocabulary, to practice Mandarin conversations with my husband… all were forgotten in the happy busyness of the Christmas/New Year season.

And now I’d be paying for my laziness à la linguistic humiliation. Continue reading “Dotted Lines & Dynamic Books”