Lost in Beijing

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Managed to clock up my fourth city in China last week. A family trip to Beijing, land of alleged blanket pollution.

It was grey for about two days, not sure if that was pollution I was sucking in or just general mist, could’ve been mist as April is a month of infamous changeable weather, but after that the sky turned blue and I could see that Beijing was surrounded by mountains.

The trip itself?

As with all my family trips, or trips with my in-laws, I was able to understand about 20% of what they were chatting about. Actually, I would say it was closer to 40% this time as I’ve been working on my listening skills and my vocab is broader…

Yet

Both my parents in law must have noticed this improvement and, in order to keep me in the pit of language-learning despair, made their vocab more obtuse and their pronunciation more slurred. I don’t know how he does it, but my father in law especially always manages to come up with a synonym for a word I know instead of using the actual word I know.

E.g. we went to the site that the foreigners burnt down over a hundred years ago [not my ancestors, they were all working in factories far as I know] and I asked my father in law what was in this place. Straight away he used the word ‘Wai zee’, which to me meant ‘place’ or ‘location’…therefore I thought he was pointing at the map saying, ‘here is a location and here is a location over here…that’s also a location.’ Very vague stuff, so I kept on asking him, ‘what is at that location? Anything?’ and he would again answer with ‘wai zee.’ Continue reading

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