Seven, Tong Tong and Mao

Posted by on March 26, 2011

four peeps and a babyToday I met my soon to be tutor, Seven. She chose that as her English name because her Chinese name is “Chimei” which is Seven sisters. Now that I’ve met Seven, it fits. What sounded like an interesting and maybe a strange name to choose for oneself, now just sounds right.
She came to our house (probably about an hour drive with traffic) today with her 1 1/2 month old baby Tong Tong, her mom Mao, Jeanette and Nicole. Jeanette and Nicole already seem like old friends, it was good to see them again. All of these people we’ve been able to meet is because of a friend I made online that lives in the states.

New friendsTeresa lived in Beijing for a little over 2 yrs and is good friends with all these wonderful people. Before moving to Beijing I searched online for a blog by anyone that was either living in Beijing or had lived in Beijing and could give me some pointers. I discovered Teresa’s blog and soon became addicted to it and she posted about EVERYTHING, so there was a lot to read. It soon became my daily ritual, to read one of her posts. I felt sad when the Beijing blog was over but thank goodness she is still blogging.

Seven is going to take a taxi three times a week with her mom and baby in tow to tutor me for two hours. Her mom lives close to me and her mom can come sit with the baby while Seven tutors me but still, it’s out of the way and I’m really grateful she is willing to do this. Of course she is being paid but it goes beyond that and I really appreciate it. The Chinese people are gracious, kind and so friendly.

Ok, this is off topic but I wanted to make a point about Chinese people. We will be in the elevator of our apartment (there are 31 floors plus four floors of penthouses in other words, there are a lot of people that live just in our building) and someone will get on, say “Ni Hao” then if they get off before us they turn and say “Zijian”. When do you ever do that in the states? Most of the time in the US in the elevator I tend to ignore the other people in there with me, almost to the point of not making eye contact. Why is that? I just wanted to say that the Chinese are very friendly and we have been treated so well since getting here.
Ok, back to Seven and her visit. Her baby is beautiful but when I would say that to her or her mom, they would say “oh, no she is not”. I could’ve just squeezed her cute little cheeks though, so cute. Mao (Seven’s mom and the way we were introduced to her was by telling us her name is Mao, like the chairman) took off Tong Tong’s sock to show us her “big feet” and then tried to tell us because they are so big (and she was just born in February) it’s too much of a pain to find shoes or socks that fit. Ha ha. They looked like any other newborns feet, cute and tiny.

Two happy peeps and a not so happy babyI think I might be distracted by the sweet baby when Seven comes to tutor me but I will try my hardest to study and pay attention. I’m ready to learn so that I can stop stumbling over the few words that I know. I want to remember to say “xiexie” (thank you) to our driver, instead of blurting out “zijian” (goodbye) when I first see him and he opens the door for me. I’m sure I sound like an idiot but I am trying. Also, supposedly learning the tones is no big deal, so Sofi says. Sure!


4 Responses to Seven, Tong Tong and Mao

  1. Gonzalo

    Great blog, guys….!!!! Excellent to have an overview of differences betwen Asian and Western countries 😉

  2. Matt

    Mark, Are you still taking Chinese lessons from this teacher or do you have any recommendations on how to pick a teacher?

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