Sharing: The Second Month of Mandarin Study

After two months of reading and writing classes, we learned 33 lessons. There are around 10 new words in “Pinyin” and “Hanzi” for each lesson. We also learned the stroke orders and grammar. There are 6 basic strokes e.g. vertical and horizontal and also 16 compound strokes e.g. horizontal-hook, right-slash-hook and horizontal-vertical-hook. I usually write the new words down 20 times in an exercise book, memorize it by writing it in the magnetic board in the same day of the class and the next day before the class. I usually thought that I knew all the new words before the dictation. Then, during the dictations, I was not sure how to write the strokes or forgot all the strokes even though I wrote it down a few minutes before the dictation. When the teacher returned the dictation, I found out that I added a stroke, wrote it too small or short e.g. the seventh stroke of 起 should be until under 己. The dictation helped me to find out the correct way to write. We had a midterm exam on Nov 16 and my mark was 94.
In conversation classes, we learned 60 sentences related to greetings: how do you do, how is your health, and are you busy with your work; make acquaintances: may I know your name, let me introduce…, and when is your birthday; and make inquiries: how many people are there in your family, what time is it? where do you live? where is the post office? We had a midterm exam on Nov 16 but the teacher didn’t give the result except for the best two students. After the midterm exam, she said I have good number of new words but I should practice to pronounce j,q,x, 3rd tone and 4th tone.
In listening classes, we learned 11 lessons including listening dialogues and answering the questions relate to the dialogue. We had midterm exam on Nov 19 and my mark was 94.
In “Hanzi” class, we learned to write around 130 words. Several words weren’t new words as I learned it in reading and writing class.
The optional classes in Chinese dishes on Tuesdays and Chinese tourism places on Fridays are for the intermediate students, I came only once. I attended Chinese Corner about Traditional Chinese Wedding, Chinese Games, and Ghost.
I attend optional class in pronounciation on Thursdays 12.55 p.m. – 2.15 p.m. The teacher recorded our pronounciation on our first day and gave written review on it: should learn more in pronouncing sh, ch, zh, s, c, z, 3rd tone and 4th tone. I usually should repeat several times in pronouncing the 4th tone. She gave a voice and written copy of the words so I use my pink Ipod to listen it. One of my classmates suggests me to learn to be angry to pronounce the 4th tone correctly.
During our regional meeting in Hong Kong on Oct 17, I shared about my first month in Guangzhou including a short conversation in Mandarin.
My class had an outing to play bowling on Oct 19. I tried to throw the ball several times without changing my shoes as I didn’t intend to play. I got the prize as the funniest player several years ago because I always threw the ball outside the lane.
Li Fei, Kala and I visited 5 goats statue in Yue Xiu Park on Oct 23. We met several students of South Normal China University so we tried to speak in Chinese and they tried to speak in English including offering to be guide to several places in Guangzhou. It’s a very big park and we couldn’t find the Ming Dinasty wall even though we asked several persons.
There is an Indonesian mass and confession. I was moved to see the students stood by along the way from subway station to the chapel to give direction. We had a prayer group together for three universities followed by touring around “Daxuecheng” (universities compound).
There was “tian ji” ( competition in our school on Oct 30. Our class was representated by Vietnamese students and we were the third winner. As we got prize RMB 100.00, we had a party in the class.
We didn’t have classes on Nov 12 due to the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games. Unfortunately, I got cold upon arriving from Hong Kong on Nov 11. I had bed rest whole day and watched the opening ceremony through TV for a while. Our north gate campus was one of the opening ceremony venues as it is in front of the Pearl River. I could see the fireworks from my balcony. One of the Indonesians offered to watch synchronized swimming as she got free tickets on Nov 20. We arrived lately at Foshan Aquatics Centre as it took 2.5 hours trip instead of one hour. There is a booth in cathedral during the Asian Games to help visitors. Catholicism was introduced to Guangzhou during the late of Ming Dynasty. The foundation of the cathedral was laid on June 18, 1863, the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. It is aso called “Shishi” (Stone House) Cathedral. The cathedral was finished in 1888. It covers an area of 2,754 m2, 35 meters wide, 78.69 meters long, 58.50 meters high (towers). The capable of eating is 1,800 visitors. The Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government allocated a special fund (more than 19 million RMB) and the Church raised 3 million RMB for the restoration.
I was moved during my first weekday Mass as I realized how God prepares it. Later on, I hear an Mass on Wednesdays.
One day before my listening midterm exam, I heard that an Indonesian patient was brought to ICU as she was in comma. I planned to visit her on previous Friday with the Indonesian students but I got cold. The translator said that she couldn’t be visited but I decided to visit after the class to accompany the family. The nurse allowed me to go inside ICU by wearing mask and slipper. She is sleeping and her condition wasn’t stabil yet. Her husband and I prayed together. I was laying my hand upon her forehead. She woke up and asked to sit for a moment in the middle of our prayer. After praying, one of the translators said the doctor asked not pray too long as her leukocyte was low. Later on, I was alone outside the ICU for a while and saw she was talking to her husband so I asked her condition to the nurse who brought in the medicine. She said that she didn’t know as she wasn’t the nurse at ICU. Then she placed her both hands in front of her chest, bowed her head, said “Jesu” (=Jesus) and “Qilai” (=wake up). I was not sure what she wanted to say, “you prayed to Jesus to make her wake up” or “you prayed to Jesus and she is waking up” so I said “Tian Zhu” (=God) and made a sign of a cross. I didn’t know whether she was in ICU while we were praying or she heard that we were praying over her.

If you are living in communion with God, if you know you are the loved, and if you make yourself available for service, you cannot do other than minister. Ministry is the overflow of your love for God and others. Ministry is when two people toast their glasses of wine and something splashes over. Ministry is extra. (Henry Nouwen)

Guangzhou, Nov 24, 2010

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible
P.S. The patient moved out from ICU ten days later with higher leucocyte.