Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yat, Yi, Saam!

So, my Practical Cantonese class seems to be going well. I can count to ten (my post title is 1, 2, 3!), tell you the food/drink is delicious (ho sik!), say "no problem" (mo mun tei) say "you're welcome" (m sai m goi), ask how you are doing (nei ho ma) and tell you I'm very busy (ho mong) or fine (gei ho) or not bad (m choh). I can beg your pardon (tjie tjie m goi) and tell you my name (Oo hai MB). You, on the other hand can only tell me things if you say it very slowly and with an American accent. This Wednesday we meet at Hopewell Center to practice our skills at the market. I still have to study "how much is this" and remember "peung de la" (do you have a discount?)  One interesting note: people don't expect a gweilo (white man - I don't know the feminine version) to speak Cantonese. So when I told the waiter last night "ho sik!" in regards to the wine, he smiled, tried to process and then his face said, "What did she just say?" So then I wonder if I've got the right phrase, the right tone, not too much Ohio, and then retry but with less conviction, "ho sik?" Aaaah - then he gets it! Yes! Ho sik! Very good! Its all in the delivery my friends.

I've noticed that last several days it is much less stressful to go out and about my day. It helps that I've had a couple of meetings and am working on a few projects. I'm better at looking right then left when crossing the street, not as annoyed by the lack of personal space when walking down the street, and feeling infinitely better about getting places I want to go. The heat has abated somewhat and after a month (yes! a month! - it actually seems longer) I think we're adjusting to the humidity.

Things I love about Hong Kong: the big city that circles the green mountain in the center of HK island, walking everywhere or taking the MTR, fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and fish, the mix of Eastern/Western culture - the Buddhist temple next to the curtain store, the crush of people and smells in the markets, the cleanliness of the city, and dining al fresco. Are there things I don't like? But of course. I will only tell you one as it is the thing I am determined to overcome. As with any culture, there are people who do not like people of other cultures or colors. It is a little disconcerting to be met with glaring looks, outright staring and in some instances, physical obstruction. For example, yesterday, in the ladies room at the mall, a woman was absolutely not going to move (she took up the whole doorway, arms folded, glaring at me) so I could exit the restroom. I had to turn and sorta squeeze by. I did smile and say excuse me (but not in Cantonese), and then mentally made a small sneer of frustration. Okay - that might of come through in my eyes, its difficult to say. Maybe she was just pissed at the world or had eaten something sour, I'll never know. But! If we are to be "the change we want to see in the world" then I have some work to do. Overcoming? Ignoring? What is the verb here? Turning a couple of cheeks? Rise above? Go with the flow.  I should learn to say that in Cantonese. Go with the flow.

Last bit of news: we move into our new apartment this coming weekend. To say I'm excited is an understatement. Why make understatements? YAY!!!! Our couch! Our bed! Our clothes! Our automatic cat boxes!

1 comment:

  1. The most important part of this move and you forgot to mention it. We get our popcorn popper. I can live without the bed, but the popcorn popper is what we need.