Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stealing Alison's post

I want you guys to pretend this post is funnier and better written than it is...because this is Alison's story. She just didn't have enough time last night to put it in writing.

To give you the background: we started taking Mandarin classes last week (resulting in a fairly grueling weekly schedule as they are Mon Wed Fri from 7 pm until 9 pm), but we've had 5 classes thus far and have felt like we're learning so much. We now know how to say, "Hi, we are American from New York City, how are you? Do you have any brothers? I am an English teacher, where are you from? I am very hungry" type things. Not bad considering we knew absolutely nothing but hand gestures and picture-drawing last Monday.
(side note 1: Alison may be tone deaf, but she gets the 4 tonal sounds perfectly almost every time. She finishes and the teacher claps. Everytime. Total superstar.
side note 2: The "h" sound has a slight hebrew h sound to it, and sometimes she forgets to do a light throat gurgle and lets loose a sound that belongs on the end of baruch or beginning of chamotze. I crack up everytime thinking of how superJew Alison can't help bringing our roots to this new language ;)

Anyways, back to the story. Buoyed with our rapid Mandarin acquisition, Alison went to the bank by herself after work and organized our rent money to be transfer into our landlord's account and paid for our internet. The people there didn't speak English, and as she was telling me this story while we were walking to the restaurant, I was so impressed with her! We immediately sit down, Alison says, "well, we should get a beer to celebrate!"

Normally, we'd thumb through the menu to the drinks and point at the picture of the beer, but today, Alison decided to order beer just like we learned in class. The waitress nods, doesn't even repeat what we say, and we high-five at the table, so impressed with what just happen that we don't think twice when the beer doesn't come in the next ten minutes.

Then, a steaming pile of ground pork and tofu in hot chili sauce comes from the kitchen...and the waitress says the word somewhat similar to the word for beer as she sets it on the table.

After laughing hysterically for a few moments, we agreed that the misunderstanding was a sign from above to not be too cocky about our Mandarin abilities yet ;)


  1. Maybe it's the waitress who is tone deaf. I think until you have more Mandarin classes under your belt, you should stick with the pictures! Loved hearing about the "light throat gurgles"

  2. omg Alison I love you so much! So proud you can go to the bank all on your own--that's more important than ordering a beer, right?! Can't wait for y'all to teach Stacy and me some phrase we can bring back to DC