Monday, 15 October 2012


Mandarin class is my favourite. A lot of interesting stuff happens there.

We were not allowed to speak Mandarin in Mandarin class for about a month. The teacher called it our "silent period" and instructed us to just listen. However, we have finally been released from our silent period. I am not all that good at talking, but I like to say my numbers. It's like I've regressed to kindergarten. My favourite number is 2. When you say it properly, you sound like a seal. I'm always tempted to clap my hands together in a seal-like manner whenever I get to say it.

It's not a laughing or questioning seal, mind you. It's a very matter-of-fact sounding seal.

A group of us students were driving to Moose Jaw with one of Caronport's vans.

"We have van number two today," said Levi.

"Èr!" I said, excitedly, pointing at the number two.

Levi laughed. Luckily, he happens to know Mandarin and managed to catch my switch from English to Chinese. "Èr!" he agreed. "Good."

I don't always say it in a proper context, though. It kind of just bubbles out sometimes, like when Stephanie and I were walking down the hall.

"Èr!" I said. You can do that with classmates who are also learning Mandarin, but it might be considered rude or odd with someone who isn't. Happily, Stephanie had the social grace to reply in kind.

"Èr!" she exclaimed. And we went "Èr! Èr!" all the way to our dorms.

Whoever said college is a place for deep intellectual discussion never learned a new language for credit.


Class was over and I was packing up my bag.

"Hey Carla," said Chuck, "Which language is more romantic? French or Italian?" Apparently he and Timothy were having an argument over the matter.

Being the authority on romantic languages that I am, I was pleased to respond. "I think probably Italian, because French has too much of the hackxchhxhc stuff."

Chuck is a native French speaker, but said, "I agree."

"No way," said Timothy. "It's not German."

"How about you both say something romantic to me and then I'll decide?" I suggested.

"I'd be up for that," said Chuck. Timothy shrugged.

So I settled myself into my chair and delicately folded together my hands. Chuck stared over my head and said something in a quick stream of Italian. Timothy looked down at the table and said something in a non-Germanic stream of French.

I shrugged. "They're about the same," I reported.

Sheesh. If you're going to try to woo a girl, at least have the guts to look her in the eye.

We were working in pairs. We were taking turns saying sentences (in Mandarin) with the "X is a Y"  structure. The other person would match their picture cards according to what the first person had dictated.

"They are children," I said. Tianna matched her cards.

"She is a young person," said Tianna. I matched my cards.

"You are a baby," I said nonchalantly to Tianna, wondering if she'd notice. She matched her picture cards.

"You are an old woman," returned Tianna, equally nonchalantly. I matched my picture cards.

It's probably a good thing we both temporarily forgot about the picture card of a dog in our pile.


I was given my Chinese name today by my Mandarin teacher and our Chinese intern, Miao Yu.  It's been 23 years since I was last named, so it was pretty exciting. One does not simply receive a new name every day. Miao Yu spent a lot of time thinking and praying about our names.


This is pronounced "Hé Àipíng" and means "loving peace and justice". They also gave me a verse, Micah 6:8, which just so happened to already be hanging on my fridge - "He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

This is a very good name and I like it a lot. My face was plastered with a ridiculous smile all class, which only got larger when, as the teacher asked for Chinese words we knew with the "H" sound, I pointed out my name and she had the whole class tell me hello.

I'll still answer to Carla, though. That's a good name, too.


"Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering." Theodore Roosevelt


Mom said...

I so enjoyed this, Carla, "little womanly one"! :) Good line: "How about you both say something romantic to me?"

Art said...

I like your Chinese name. I think "loving peace and justice" suits you quite well. Also, good strategy on getting the guys to talk romantic to you.