Day 115 - Language Metaphor

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Smog Level: 2/3 Mountains

“These dogs smell like beer,” I thought on the elevator this morning, entirely ignoring the possibility of the old lady holding the leash. The idea of female alcoholics seems to fall under my radar, and that’s even after working with homeless populations for years.

Lost and Found?

On my way to the bus, I noticed a purse on the group, spilled open with a wallet/clutch and iPhone 6 still there. Was it from a mugging? Did she put it on her car and drive away without noticing? No idea, but I also don’t want to be the “lǎo wài(foreigner) who was seen stealing from a random purse. Also, I have no idea where to take it or what to say when I do.

Occasional Flowers
Shoving Cooked Pasta Through a Keyhole

Lunch alone, study mandarin, forcing the habit to come back. I learn the words for “quarter hour” and “half.” To really lock the words in, it takes me the full half hour and I still don’t have them seared into my brain. If only the words didn’t sound as foreign from English words as they do… but the more you know, and the more you hear, the faster each new word seems to come. Like that incident where I was trying to say "last week" (shàng zhōu [shah-ng joe]) taught me a new word when they misheard it as "banana" (xiāngjiāo [she-ang jee-ow]).

Classes and Work

The first class is as whiny as usual, and their normal CoTeacher is away somewhere so we have a new one who isn’t sure how to manage the class. It's as a 5/10 star class, partially from the incessant whining.

Second class, one of the boys told me that I was a “manly man,” which is a changeup from the usual comment of being a “monkey” because I have facial, chest, and arm hair. Hey, thanks, kid! This is from the kid who loves to put his hand up and can hardly keep himself in the seat, as if his one hand has a rocket attached and he really wants to go with it, while his other is handcuffed to the desk.

Breaking Bad Returning

Bunny wanted the month tests marked for her class, so I stayed after class to get them done, met Aurora, Carol, and Flo (new teacher) for dinner at 5. Apparently they watch English shows, which makes sense. I suggested Breaking Bad, and Aurora told me that they’re coming out with another season. Horrified, I prodded more to find out she was talking about Prison Break. Thank god. 

Language Metaphor

After dinner had our one-on-one mandarin lesson. This time, I drew a map and pretended to give directions from/to various points on the map. 

I then came up with this metaphor: there’s an elevator with no walls. It is always going up and stopping at every floor. People are always getting on until eventually the landing is full. With every new person, someone is forced to fall off. Slowly, the people on the elevator have figured out how to expand the landing, and keep more people from falling to their doom. Despite their fastest efforts, it is always too small for the ever-increasing number of passengers. 

I really like these small-drawered chests
This is how learning a language feels. After telling her this story, she asked if its was a metaphor. Yeah, those can be hard to handle in a second language, I forget.

Will Knowledge for Knowledge

In exchange, I taught her a little more about basic fitness, and we went outside to practice doing pull-up negatives. What’s a negative? When lifting, there are two cycles: against gravity, and with gravity. There are probably more technical terms, but let's say the positive is against gravity, while the negative is with gravity. For a pull-up, you begin (arms extended) and pull your face/chin up to the bar, then you have to let yourself down gradually. If you can’t do the first part, start from face level, and lower yourself down as slowly as possible. Eventually, you’ll find you can do one normal pull up. This is how I had to get into them, also.

Normal Occurrences

On the bus ride home, a second bus was riding in front of us with their back hatch open, exposing its engine. I had to stop at the mall to get some milk, and it’s bustlin’. People are dressed well, seems like some events going on. Then, in front of the second largest malls in the world (by shopping area), stood a woman. She was holding her child by the ankles, the kids shoulder blades to her chest, ass hanging over some bushes. Being downwind, I knew the kid wasn’t just taking a pee. Why? There are washrooms inside! Why?!

I soon forget about it, wandering through the dry, 27ºC night. It doesn't feel that hot. Humid heat is the worst, and I’m glad it hasn’t set in yet.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Quarter Hour

[she-ow shurr]

Editing Music 
Pretty Face

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