Sharing: A Learning from Learning Sign Language

My second semester of Mandarin study will be finished in June 2011 and it means I still have two semesters to go.
As for now, I am learning to write around 1200 Chinese characters (from our reading and writing classes, excluding new words from listening and conversation classes) but I know I can’t remember how to write most of it even though I have better ability to recognize the characters. My major problem is still the tones especially in the sentences as there are several regulations e.g. if there are two third tones, the first third tone should be pronounced as the second tone. That’s why my conversation grade is always the lowest and I usually mention about it if I talked about my grades.
One of the Indonesian students wanted to have join activities with Chinese students so 30 Indonesians and Chinese visited Huiling Farm to work, eat, play and have Communion Service with Fr. Peter who connected and sponsored us. On the way back home, a Chinese guy sat beside me and he started to write on his notebook to communicate so I also replied by writing on his notebook. His name is Chai Cai. Since most of the time I couldn’t read his Chinese handwriting as he wrote quickly in a moving bus and I only know a few of Chinese characters so both of us started to communicate by using Chinese characters in our cellphones. He taught me several words in sign language and eager to teach more words. After that we communicate through text messages and Two weeks later, four Indonesians and I ate together with him and then we went around Linhexi subway station and Guangzhou East Train Station. He taught us several words in sign language so we can have better communication even though we also communicate by writing and speaking loudly. As I am willing to be his elder sister, he calls me 莉莉姐姐(Lili jiejie.
At this time, I am not interested to learn any new language but here God sends him to teach me sign language even though only a few words. Knowing him is a holy coincidence and from my communication with him, I learned that conversation (with sound) is not always the important thing. I remember a quotation by Zeno (335 BC-264 BC), The reason we have two ears and only one mouth, is that we may hear more and speak less.

Guangzhou, May 31, 2011

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M./

Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible

P.S. This article was published in Maryknoll Sisters China Region Newsletter No. 15, Jul 2011.