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.

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