The above picture is a representation of a new Chengyu, made by my own very brain. Chengyu are, as I’ve explained in an earlier post, traditional Chinese phrases usually made up of four characters, which have a history and a story often dating back thousands of years. This one, however, is straight out of 2013, and has absolutely no history whatsoever. It’s literal meaning is “umbrella danger”, and its extended meaning is – well – also “umbrella danger”. It’s a bit of a rubbish Chengyu I guess, but it gets across my anger at the regular attempts to stab me in the eyes/face with umbrella spokes. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S NOT EVEN RAINING.
Chinese t-shirt slogans
I’ve seen some very funny Chinese t-shirts in the past few weeks. Some are hilarious literal translations of what was once a meaningful Chinese phrase, now rendered laughable by its lack of coherence in English (“Have hope and proceed. It will be opened certainly tomorrow”). Others are actually quite witty and clever (the old faithful “Life’s a beach”). The third category is just the absolutely absurd. Take, for example, an NFL-style jersey (more on that later) with the number 12 written beneath (in bold, red capitals) PERVERT. Erm…
On a mildly related note, we studied a new grammar point in class this week: 宁可. Its meaning is “would rather”, which isn’t the funny part, in case you were wondering. It is in fact pronounced “ning ke” which, when the appropriate tones are applied, makes it sound like you are beginning to call someone a nincompoop. Well, it tickled Will and me anyhow… Also, as an indirect result, I have rediscovered the word “ponce”.
I’m really appreciating the value of friends here. If you know me at all, you will know I’m relatively quiet and thoughtful, and I enjoy the company of a small number of people whom I value and care about. Here, it’s a very interesting mixture.
At first, everyone did everything together, as we were all foreigners, lumped into a bizarre new world together. Now, people are finding those to trust, those to have fun with, and those to spend hours drinking iced coffee with! If you’re reading this from Hainan, you probably care enough to be one of these friends – thank you 🙂 I’m very grateful!
Coming up this week, my mid-terms continue. The listening one appeared to be fine, especially given that we could prepare 75% of the test from our textbook’s listening extracts… I expect the comprehensive one (Thursday) to be more difficult, as that involves all of the grammar, vocab, written pieces and reading texts so far. The other two are somewhat interesting.
Speaking (Wednesday) is a dialogue which we can prepare in small groups; I’m talking about my hometown with Vicky. Basically, we are going to try and re-enact our first ever meeting, where Will had set us up as a mutual friend. We found that we had quite a lot in common, and was amazed to learn that she lives in Hannover, where I had been merely two months earlier!
Reading (Friday) is, in fact, not reading at all. It’s another speaking presentation, essentially. We have to learn about one Chengyu, and explain to our classmates (with a PowerPoint presentation) the story behind it. I’m not too worried about that one, but still quite bamboozled as to why they call it a reading exam.
Continued fascination with NFL
After another win for the Chargers and another outstanding running effort from my new top man, the untouchable Danny Woodhead (5’8″ and 15st, with dancing feet), I’ve only gone and purchased myself an American football. Apart from aspiring to actually be the aforementioned Woodhead, we are going to get a little game of “flag football” going – wearing a t-shirt in the back of the shorts rather than taking full-on neckbreakers… I’m not relishing the prospect of coming up against Big Hungarian Daniel though, who is effectively a foot taller than me and built like a brick wall.
Big derby match
Slightly more nerve-wracking still is the thought of watching Sunderland host Newcastle tomorrow night… Sad to say, I just don’t have a good feeling about it. However, I guess we have to win at some point soon. Never a better time to start!