Ni hao (hello) from sunny southern California. I have been at grad school for almost two weeks and yet it feels like years have gone by. Concordia University sits on a hill amongst the suburbs in Orange County, Calif., and I almost don’t want to leave this place for China! It is just so beautiful here; the sunsets rival Florida sunrises.
I spend my days in eight hours of Chinese class. There is so much to learn that it seems overwhelming at times. For instance, the Chinese word “ma” when said two different ways could either mean “mother” or “horse.” Imagine messing that one up in a conversation! Learning Chinese is not as hard as popular opinion may be, though. It is beautifully crafted, and the grammar is so simple. It’s cool to think that I am learning the most spoken language in the world.
The 28 people in my program are from all over the world. There are three Floridians, people from Colorado, New York City, California and all over the Southeast. There are also people from India, South Korea, Hong Kong, Nigeria and Taiwan. The diversity and uniqueness of this group is unlike any other I have experienced. Everyone has a story of why they want to be here and learn Chinese, and it is such a wonderful experience to get to know everyone’s heart for China.
Last week our cohort visited the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana to see an exhibition of the terracotta warriors from Xian, China. The warriors were found in the mid 1900s and very few of them have been allowed out of the country. It was such a special experience to see these amazing pieces of history that show the craftsmanship and advanced techniques of the Chinese in Ancient Times. You can learn about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army.
At the end of the day, and after hours of repeating Chinese tones, it is wonderful to wander out to the top of the hill and catch an OC sunrise, knowing that somewhere around the world there are 1 billion people speaking Chinese, and one day, I will be one of them.