I speak Chinese, and that's not amazing
Dear fellow non-Asian Americans,
No, it’s not amazing. It’s one day after another of awkward introductions and overly-enthusiastic requests that acquaintances please help me practice. It’s tabbing over to Google Translate again and again and again in order to decode characters and navigate a website, then discovering “This video can only be streamed in Mainland China.” It’s that uncertainty of how to switch from English to Mandarin in the middle of a conversation. It’s hours of listening to Jay Chou, not sure if I understand the words or I’ve just gotten used to what the music sounds like. It’s flashcards and textbooks and pages and pages I’ve completely covered with Chinese characters. It’s a list of grammar questions I keep in my head, ready to ask when I meet one of my Chinese friends. It’s the excitement of being able to email someone in Chinese, then massive confusion when I can’t figure out what they meant in their reply. It’s a fight and a hobby and a lifestyle, and it’s irreversibly changing who I am and it’s wonderful.
Why I don't want to hear you say "that's amazing." Read the rest: I speak Chinese, and that's not amazing.