TCA Class: Lesson 4 Part 1

We've started doing 聽寫 exercises each week, where Lisa reads an English sentence and I type the Chinese characters. This is a big improvement from where I was before I moved to Taipei, because I used to not be able to read or write anything! Also, most of the time, my sentences are pretty close or the same as what Lisa has written for the answer. Hooray.

市場 (shìchǎng): marketplace, market bazaar

餐車 (cān chē): food truck, restaurant car

談戀愛 (tán liàn ài): to be dating, to go steady, to court

正事 (zhèngshì): serious topic, someone's private /proper business

小三 (xiǎo sān): slang for mistress, person on the side

生物學 (shēngwùxué): biology (academic topic)

香蕉 (xiāngjiào): banana!!

始終難(shízhōng): clock

食品安全 (shípǐn ānquán): food safety

TCA Class: Lesson 3 Part 2

Some new words and phrases I learned in this class, in addition to what's in my textbook!

懷孕 (huáiyù): be pregnant. I recently started volunteering at Harmony Home, where there are a lot of pregnant migrant workers who are employed by the NGO, as well as live there for temporary shelter. 

配料 (pèiliào): ingredients/mix-ins/additions to food. We live above the infamous 東區粉圓, a dessert stand that serves 豆花, a traditional Taiwanese dessert of various chewy, gelatinous 配料 in a sweet syrup. My favorite additions are almond tofu, tapioca balls, and condensed milk!

堂 (táng): measure word for class

想法 (xiǎngfa): idea, opinion

研究所 (yánjiùsuǒ): graduate school

“他活了很久” (huó le hěn jiǔ): "he lived a long time"

活著 (huózhe): alive

Language Exchange Day 2: Weddings and more

Today 宋佾峰 and I met at Tommy's Coffee near Guting Station. For him, we went over some new phrases that he's learned in his TOEFL classes. It's really interesting to see English from his perspective. I can see how some idioms can be tricky.

Today I tried to describe to him the differences between weddings in Taiwan and the U.S. Here are some new vocabulary I learned between our session today and by attending Brian's cousin's wedding this last weekend. My goal is to follow-up with a journal post about that experience.

Sentence structure:

I still have a hard time putting together some longer sentences. Here are some I created with the help of my partner:

  • 台灣的婚禮有很多吃的, 比美國吃得多。 Taiwanese weddings have more to eat than American weddings. 
  • 美國的婚禮有人跳舞, 台灣的只吃飯。American weddings have people dancing, at Taiwanese weddings there is only eating. 
  • 一到那邊, 就馬上坐下來了。Right after we arrived, we immediately sat down. 

有意思 vs. 有趣

  • 有趣 (yǒu qù) is often used to describe something in a positive manner, and can mean funny or enjoyable.
  • 有意思 (yǒu yìsi) is often used to say something is interesting - and this can be positive or negative. 
  • 有興趣 (yǒu xìngqù) is used to express your personal interest in something

New vocabulary

  • 覺得很有壓力 (jué de hěn yǒu yālì): to feel under pressure
  • 烤爐到 (kǎo lù dào): to take into consideration (need more clarification on this). 
    • 我們要烤爐到會有人不能來我們的婚禮。We have to consider/take into account that there will be people who can't attend our wedding.  
  • 名單 (míngdān): guest list
  • 來賓 (láibīn): guest, visitor (similar to 客人)

Short write-up of the wedding to come. Thanks 宋佾峰 !  

TCA Class: Lesson 3 Part 1

Just wrapped up another 2-hour class at Taiwan Chinese Academy with my teacher, Lisa. I really like her format of using the textbook (A Course in Contemporary Chinese, Level 2) along with powerpoint slides she creates as a supplement. For each new vocabulary word, she'll find online ads, posters, pictures, book covers, etc. that have that word in it (great for contextual learning!), and we'll go over several uses for the word, followed by me creating a few sentences using it. Here are some extra phrases or words outside of my textbook that we used today that I'd like to remember!

  • 退步 tuìbù: to regress or fall behind
  • 進步 jìnbù: to progress (我覺得我的中文進步一點!)
  • 準備中 zhǔnbèi zhōng: in the process, in the middle of preparing (Lisa said this can be found on storefront signs if they are closed but close to opening)
  • 不夠流利 bú gòu liúlì: not fluent enough
    • 我現在說的中文不夠流利。 Wǒ xiànzài shuō de zhōngwén bú gòu liúlì. Right now, my Chinese is not fluent enough. 
  •  永遠 yǒngyuǎn: forever, always 
  •  看法 kànfǎ: opinion
  •  電子報 diànzi bào: online news source

We live right near to Sun Yet Sen Memorial Hall. Unfortunately for me, taxi drivers don't know what I'm talking about when I use the English name. Today I was glad to learn it's Chinese name: 國父紀念館, guó fù jì niàn guán. Literally, it is "father of the country" + "memorial". 

Also as I've mentioned, I've picked up a new language exchange partner. This is called 語言交換 yǔyán jiàohuànlanguage exchange. 




Daily Life: Getting a Facial in Taipei

Thanks to my 乾媽, I got set up with a nice facial package, which beside the occasional PAINFUL laser treatment, is quite the treat and pretty relaxing (讓我放輕鬆!). 

Unfortunately, words related to skincare, facials, massage, and other beauty routines are not in my "baseline" vocabulary - the words I moved to Taiwan knowing. While my face is being picked at, lotioned up, exfoliated, or lasered off (or so it feels), I try and take mental notes of new words that the facialist is saying so that I can look them up and learn them later! Here are some new words I've learned from my two facial sessions, plus one manicure session I had with Christine...

bǎoyǎng (保養): take good care of one's health, maintain, keep in good repair

cā rǔyè (擦乳液): rub/apply lotion

huā zhuāng shǔi (化妝水): toner

dòuzi (痘子) + fěncì (粉刺): pimples (ugh, learned that the hard way) 

pífū (皮膚): skin

zuò liǎn (左臉): to have a facial

jiémáo (睫毛): eyelashes - lots of Taiwanese girls get eyelash extensions!

zhǐjia (指甲): nail



TCA Class: Lesson 2 Part 1

Today I started going over Chapter 2 of A Course in Contemporary Chinese Level 2! 

Some points we went over:

The 糸 radical

This radical indicates "string". It takes a different form when written on the left side of a character versus underneath another radical. Some characters that use 糸 are:

約 (yuē - to invite someone to do something at a specific time)

  • yuēhuì - to go on a date (V)
  • PERSON A gēn PERSON B yuē ACTION (when and where/what). 

結 (jiē - to tie), 紙 (zhǐ - paper), 線 (xiàn - string, thread), 累(lèi - to be tired), and 網 (wǎng - network, internet)

直接: zhíjiē - directly

  • 下課以後, 我直接會家。Xià kè yíhòu, wǒ zhíjiē huí jiā。 
  •  他說話很直。Tā shuō huà hěn zhí. (He speaks very directly)

 麻煩: máfán - to be troublesome, to trouble someone

  • 別找我麻煩。Bié zhǎo wǒ máfán. (Don't bother/bully me)

一點: yī diǎn - a little

  •  一點都不 + adj. or 一點也不 + adj.: not even a little bit + adj.
  •  有一點 + adj.: it's a little bit + adj. 
  • verb + adverb + 一點。
  • adverb + 一點 + verb. (indicates that the action hasn't begun yet, and they should hurry and start)

Miscellaneous Vocab:

  • 英里: yīnglǐ - a mile


Favorite Weekend

One of the things I miss the most about living in the States are the fun weekends. After a long week of work, my favorite things to do are catch happy hour with friends, try a new restaurant, laugh late into the night, lay in parks, or nurse a hangover in a dark movie theater. Oh yes, and end it all with a home cooked meal on Sunday night. 

I haven't had much of this yet in Taipei. We've spent many weekends traveling or having family time, and I felt like we hadn't hit a "groove" with too many people that we've met here. Of course, we have our Taipei BFFs and I am SO thankful for them, but busy schedules as of late has kept us from doing too many fun things. It's something that's been getting me down recently. We came from having such a wonderful, warm group of friends in Brooklyn, and then moved to a place where we 1) had to find things to do/places to go that we enjoy and 2) had to find people to do this with. We've had one too many nights out at ATT for Fun, and while it *is* fun, the club scene is not something we want to do with any regularity.

But! This weekend was totally different. I felt like we got out of our comfort zone, found some spots we love and remind us of home, and met people that I think will become new friends. Hooray!

On Friday, Dan and I went to dePlace to do some work in the afternoon. After mulling over our (non-existent) weekend plans over a happy hour beer, I decided to reach out to Mark, a fellow American who shares a mutual friend with me. We made plans to meet up with him (and a group) later that evening. For dinner, Dan and I had some AMAZING ramen (and were pleasantly pleased that we could read a lot of the menu), and then hung out at Family Mart with small bottle of whiskey and some beer (this is much more fun than it sounds). We finally met up with Mark and his group of Fulbright Scholar friends at R&D, which was like Taipei's answer to our prayers for a Brooklyn-esque cocktail bar... one that's just dark and scene-y enough to justify spending $350NTD on an Old Fashioned. We had a really fun night getting to know new people, including several strangers, one of which was wearing a duck mask. 

Saturday morning was bit...rough, and I decided I needed to spend some time in the kitchen to recreate my favorite Brooklyn comfort meal of chicken meatballs and mashed potatoes from The Meatball Shop. It's not easy with only one stovetop burner and no oven, but about an hour and a half later, my humble meal was ready to be eaten :) We had a late lunch while watching House of Cards, and felt pretty pleased with ourselves. That night, we went to the National Concert Hall with Conti and Kate, who had free tickets for us to see Taiwan's Symphony Orchestra perform. While I haven't always loved long classical music performances, this one was just the right length and included some soloists that kept things interesting. Following the show, we headed to Corner Office to see Ben who was back from military training for the weekend. Corner Bar felt like home - an American style pub that serves authentic Western food and has a huge beer list. Seeing Ben was great, and we also got to meet his friend David who works there. I think we'll become regulars, and I'm excited to get to know David more!

Today, we got delicious brunch with Mark and his friends. We had fun conversation, really good food, and I left feeling really happy about our budding friendship with Mark. And it's always refreshing to hang out with some Americans. We share the same sense of humor and have similar takes on living in Asia. After brunch, we thought we'd call it a weekend by spending the right of the afternoon and evening on the couch watching House of Cards. But as we settled in, Conti and Kate asked if wanted to hang out in a cafe. We couldn't say no to another offer to see people, so now I'm writing this from a beautiful cafe in Songshan Creative Park, where we're all having coffee and getting some work done. 

I'm leaving this weekend feeling so fulfilled. I got to see and meet lots of great people, we found nightlife that suits us perfectly, and I ate good food, including some I made myself. I feel home! 

Same Same But Different: 天, 生, and so on

Some of the easiest characters to write are 天, 生, 牛, 千, 末. Totally Chapter 1 material and it gets so much harder from there. When I'm reading, I have no problem distinguishing between these. BUT when I'm writing and have to recall the characters from my memory, I start getting super confused. Today I'm trying to get these right once and for all!

天: tiān (day)

This character is made up of 一 (yī - one) and 大 (dà - big), with one on top of the other. 

牛: niǔ (cow)

This is supposed to look like an ox's head. I can never remember if the vertical stroke extends past the first horizontal line. But it does! I suppose the small pie and the tip that extends at the top could be considered the two horns.

生: shēng (life)

生 is 牛 with an extra horizontal line at the bottom. It's like a cow standing on the ground. If a cow is standing on the ground, it's alive! Is this working? We'll see...

千: qiān (thousand)

This character has a pie added to the top of  十 (ten). Which would make sense as a "thousand" is much more added to "ten". This is simpler for me to remember rather than Yellow Bridge's etymology that this is an 一 (yī - one) over a 人 (rén - person). 

末: mò (final, last, end)

This is often seen in 週末 (zhōumò - weekend). I always get it mixed up with 天. This character formation is known as an "indicator", where there is an 一 at the top of 木 (mù - wood). The 一 is the indicator mark that points to what is being described. In this case, the 一 is pointing to the END of the 木, since it's at the top. It's important to remember that the indicator mark is a longer horizontal line than the one found in 木.