Margaret: 哪裡哪裡 – nǎlǐnǎlǐ – You flatter me

October 16, 2011

Today was kind of a big deal.  For the first time ever, a Chinese person complemented my Mandarin.  It was my cab driver on the thirty-minute ride across Beijing from Little Moscow to Haidian.  I told him where I wanted to go, that I was American, that I was here studying Chinese, and asked how long he’d been driving his cab – clearly extremely complicated topics of conversation.  After he told me how good my Chinese was (nali nali), rather than continuing to practice I elected to stop talking, savoring the moment for fear that he’d say something I wouldn’t understand, which would have made his praise taste a bit less sweet.  Good one Marg, you’re really working hard.

Even though I chickened out, to have a native complement my speech was like reaching a mini Holy Grail.  I own it to Ben and Keen – they did the cabbie chitchat routine so many more times on our trip than I even cared to hear that now I feel as though I could do it in my sleep.  Yay, success?

After a week of grueling midterms, I was happy to have a colorful blur of a weekend of accidental shopping, bar hopping, Hooters, the Beijinger’s 10th anniversary party, karaoke, sardine-packed subways, overpriced American food, and my first cigarette.  China is exhausting.


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