Friday, August 22, 2008

Funny stuff

Lots of times in Chinese, you call each other by titles- so like someone will call their little brother "didi" instead of his name. I am called Teacher by my students, Aunty (ai-i? I can't figure out the pinyinization), or Big Sister (jiejie) by random kids I see on the street. And I call them Little Sister and Little Brother. Usually I call adults by their names (last name or first name, depending on our relationship) but out in service if I don't really know someone I will call them aunt or uncle or ocassionally grandma or grandpa.

But today in service a little kid called me "a-ma"- Grandma! I cracked up. The sister I was with thought I'd be offended and said, "No! She is jie-jie! I'm Aunty!" And the kid said, to the sister, "But you are tall, and she is very tall!" Like I had to be older.

Later, we go to a door and through the screen the kid says, "Ai-i, ni shi shei?" (Aunty, who are you?) I say I'm Miss Han and he says, "I can't open the door! I don't know you. You're a bad person!" (This word in Chinese, huai-ren, literally means bad person but it applies to any kind of thief, anyone really who does bad things.) I was like, OK- sometimes people don't want to talk to Christians because they think the Taoist ghosts will get them, and it is Ghost Month when all the ghosts roam freely.

Then we left and it the sister explained that probably the kid was home by himself and didn't want to open the door to stranger. OK, I can handle that!

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