January 22, 2008

Football is over; Learning Mandarin

I've counted out the Giants on several occasions now. First when they played the Dallas Cowboys, I didn't think there was any chance they could beat them and they did. Then against Green Bay in Lambeau in freezing weather, I thought they couldn't possibly win against the mighty Packers and Brett Favre.

Now against the Patriots, another heavily favored team, I still don't think they have a chance. Despite every reason to cheer against the Patriots, including that they are a flawless unbeaten team, with a cheating coach, an abusive wide receiver (or innocent until proven guilty?) and a quarterback who dates a supermodel despite having a bastard child with another woman -- I still cannot see any possible way that the Giants could pull off this upset, even though the Patriots appear to be Satan's team.

On a positive note, you non-sports readers finally get some reprieve. Football is over.. no more football posts.

Lately I've really felt a genuine appreciation for my parents forcing me to go to Chinese school to learn Mandarin. With the influx of immigrants coming here and speaking chinese, it's been such a blessing for me to be able understand and to communicate with these people.

Although I can't say I ever hated learning Chinese, I definitely felt at times like I was spinning my wheels since, in my earlier years, most Chinese people in Toronto were speaking Cantonese. But since about 10 years ago more and more it's been about Mandarin.

I've appreciated the ability to communicate through my limited pinyin with Chinese kids playing World of Warcraft. Or listening intently to conversations on elevators. I remember one occasion of a child speaking to her mother in Mandarin, it was a pretty comical conversation which I had to explain to Ina later. That little girl was very smart. Recently I discovered that there is a mom in my building who verbally abuses her little boy all the time. I never would have noticed that if I didn't know Mandarin. Also having the ability to communicate with some co-workers who; upon struggling to explain something to me in English, I ask to switch to mandarin to get their point across.

Further to this is an added opportunity of ministry being able to speak the language that over 1 billion people can speak. Considering that I'm fluent in both Mandarin and English means I have a possible mission field of approximately 3-4 billion people.

I think that's pretty neat.

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