over the language barrier

Sunday, November 26, 2006


cooking the dumplings
Originally uploaded by kathy photo.
Today was one packed day of enjoying people. Got up, cleaned the house for a bit, but then skyped with Tom. So great that communication overseas is way more accessible now (for me). Phones are so 1986. It's hard to know when people are home, and if you can catch ten minutes here and there and just catch up on people's lives, it's just so different. You actually feel like you're in touch.

Afterwards, I went to the gym with Margaret. First time that i have worked out in about a year or more... Gonzo and I are going to work on signing up at the Y this week. (Now that I've written it, it has to happen!). I've got about 150 cookies sitting on my diningroom table, so I'd better join the gym otherwise there could be a major change in clothing size.

the main event for today was hanging out with a new family that we met at church. The parents were attending one of our satellite churches and that is where my parents met them. My parents had a neat time of connecting with them when the father was sick and in the hospital. This was about a year ago. Then, by chance, we met their two daughters (they are actually three - like us! - but the eldest one is still in China). We just hit it off. They're hilarious. The daughter Lois has been in Canada for seven years and is settled quite well here. She's got a good job down at King and Bay, programming for some company. The daughter Cindy (in the picture) just arrived about a month ago to take care of her father (her mother went back to China to receive some special treatment for her vertigo). She speaks no English, but she is so eager to learn. She's already learned a whole lot in three weeks (from the first time we met her).

So, today, the Cheng family invited the Lim family for dumplings. There was this massive misunderstanding about whether ir was lunch or dinner. Whether we were making dumplings together, or just showing up for them. Etc. But we had a great time. They are very different people. The father is super-educated. And brilliant. A few times in the evening, if he felt moved by whatever was occuring at that moment, he'd announce that he's going to write us a poem, spontaneously. (There is some kind of style of poetry in China like this). And his poor daughter Lois had to translate. (She translated for everyone the whole evening - me to Cindy, Cindy to the rest of us, her father to us, us to her father. She was the bottleneck for communication. She's gotta be beat by now). At dinnertime we toasted with styrofoam cups of coca-cola. You just know that these people live a very different life back in China.

It was an amazing time of bonding of two families with completely different backgrounds and current situations. But the warmth and sincerity was unbelieveable. We're gonna take Cindy downtown to sightsee 'cause she really hasn't seen anything yet.

Oh yeah, for probably about an hour and half, I created flashcards for her to build her vocaulary in English. I drew about 25 pictures with the corresponding English word. I haven't drawn in forever, and I was amazed that I still could. We had so much fun. I also learned A TON of Mandarin tonight. So much came back to me.

I am so tired now, but such a full and satisfying day.

2 comments:

  1. that sounded like such a great day!
    i love that you made flashcards. that made my esl heart smile and do a backflip.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Peter Gabriel27/11/06 00:42

    I wanted to call it In the Blood of Sweden...Geffen wouldn't let me.

    ReplyDelete

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