Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Speaking of bathrooms

It's been really fun to watch my kids learn Chinese. More and more they recognize characters they see out in public, or pick up words Erik and I are speaking to others. The only unfortunate thing is that soon Erik and I will not be able to use Chinese as our "we don't want the kids to understand what we're saying in their presence" language. Time for Erik to pick up Spanish (and for me to find it again).

Today as we reviewed for their class, I was throwing out other useful phrases like, "Where is the bathroom?" There are two good ways to say this. One is "Wei sheng jian zai nar?" and the other is "xi shou jian zai nar?" The latter they instantly recognized as "Where is the wash hands room?" Easy enough. The first means literally, "Where is the sanitary room?" so I explained sanitary as clean. Ethan objected to that by observing that the bathrooms here are rarely clean. So then we put together the phrase, "China has no sanitary rooms." This is not actually true. In fact there has been a delightful increase in the number of public bathrooms which DON'T make me wish I couldn't smell. But for the sake of language learning, it made for useful conversation.

On a completely unrelated note, my question about whether or not the yogurt in the refrigerator had gone bad has been answered. I now need to go eat something else.

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