Friday, September 18, 2009

How Do You Say Box Wine in Mandarin Chinese?

I’ve been a bit absent lately for a couple of reasons. First, I haven’t been feeling all that great, but I am happy to report that I am starting to feel better. Hooray! Second, my head is going to pop thinking about some life changes coming down the pipeline. You know, little things.

Like what, you ask?


Yup. You read right. Now, it isn’t etched in stone, but Greg’s work wants to send him to Beijing to train a new group of people in the art of game making. And being a stay-at-home mom, there is no reason why we can’t go along with him for this uber cultural experience. Now, I have to admit that at first I was all WHAT? CHINA? BUT… BUT… AGH!

*pop* <--- The sound of my head exploding.

And then I started talking to people who were all CHINA! COOL! WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! So, I actually started to think about it seriously, and now I’m very excited about it. I’m nervous beyond belief about everything we need to do to prepare a family for this temporary move, but also very excited. I’m nervous about the submersion into a culture with which I’m not hugely familiar, but also challenged. So far to get prepared, we have:

  • shown the kids on google earth where Beijing is (“the other side of the world”)
  • checked out a bunch of books and movies from the library about Beijing and Chinese culture
  • checked out a Mandarin Chinese language program from the library
  • scoured the Internet on expat experiences and recommendations
  • asked about a bazillion questions
  • created to do list after to do list
  • started recording Ni Hao, Kai-Lan on Nickelodeon

So, I’ve only learned a couple of words in Mandarin Chinese so far. It is a very tough language to learn. OK, maybe it’s that I’m older now and it doesn’t stick to my I-have-had-two-kids-and-subsequently-lots-of-wine brain. Whatever the reason, I remember one word and forget the last one I learned. It’s freakin’ hard! Nothing like the Spanish and French I learned in school. So, thanks to Kai-Lan and her grandpa, I have learned:

  • Ni hao – hello
  • la – pull
  • yeah-yeah – grandpa

As you can see, I have a lot of work to do. Since the language relies a lot on tone to deliver meaning, one word or sound can have multiple meanings depending on the way it is said. The word for wine, from what I understand, can mean old, nine, or wine. So, when I go into the store asking for box wine, I’m either going to get beat up for calling someone old, going to be constantly escorted to aisle nine, or going to get the golden liquid that I desire. Please, please, keep your fingers crossed for the latter.


  1. I'm so excited for you guys! And jealous. It's the chance of a lifetime.

  2. Barbara! I'm totally excited that you guys might come and visit! That will be AWESOME!

  3. I know! Could be one or both of us. We'll see how plans shape up early next year.