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Ni Hao

April 28, 2010


Ni Hao means hello in Chinese.

I’m half Chinese and have always wanted to be fluent. When I was younger and we lived in Texas close to all of my relatives on my moms side I knew Chinese well.  My dad was in the Air Force so we did lots of moving around.  From Texas we were moved to England.  I wouldn’t change that experience for anything, I was able to see and do so many exciting things at such a young age.  I had so many opportunities to be around different cultures.

When we moved to England we weren’t around the Chinese culture anymore. My mom spoke Chinese on the phone with her family, but we lost touch with the language.  I of course understand the basics used around the house.   Time for dinner, brush your teeth, take a shower, etc.

After England we moved to Maryland and my mom enrolled my sister and I in Chinese school.  Going to Chinese school on a Saturday when you’re a middle school student is two words. Not cool.  Those were the days when you wanted to walk around the mall with your friends, hang out at the movie theaters, too cool for everything, especially Chinese school.  I did really well in class, caught on quickly, and always did well on tests but I begged my mom daily to let me quit.  After enough begging she finally agreed.

Now I always wonder what would have happened if I had continued learning Chinese.  I would be able to communicate so much better with my grandmother, be able to understand my mom when she’s trying to be secretive on the phone with my aunt, be able to have one of a kind opportunities in the business world.  I’ve recently been looking into taking classes at a local community college.  They have classes at night where it’s a hybrid type class, one day a week in the classroom, and other days are online learning.

I want to learn Chinese.

These pics are a few years old, but I love them.

How many of you know other languages?

My dad was actually a linguist, and knows at least 6 languages, it’s amazing.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2010 9:15 am

    I love your family pictures! You are so freaking gorgeous!

    I think learning Chinese would be so cool [or any foreign language for that matter], but I love that you have a connection to it.

  2. Jordan permalink
    April 28, 2010 9:28 am

    Great pictures and very cool that your dad knows 6 languages! I’ve been on the east coast all my life so I’d love to hear about moving around from someone who’s been there!

  3. April 28, 2010 9:39 am

    6 languages?? That is impressive! I can barely manage english and spanish!!

  4. Molly permalink
    April 28, 2010 9:54 am

    I took chinese for 6 years in grade school (it was required, crazy huh?) Then we had to take latin. Then for 5 years I took french.
    I still dont know a lick of spanish…hmmm probably should. But i have this intense desire to learn italian. We’ll see 🙂

    happy wednesday!


  5. April 28, 2010 10:44 am

    I am a strong believer that you either have it or you don’t when it comes to learning langages. I know that you can push through it and learn, but I took 6 years of French and the only thing that I remember is “Je ne sais pas?” meaning, “I don’t konw.” hehe

  6. April 28, 2010 11:20 am

    I am in the same boat! I am half Korean and I lived in Korea for a few years (my dad was stationed there). According to my mom, I spoke/understood Korean while there but then we moved to Maryland.

    I wasn’t enrolled in Korean school (but my half Chinese friend has told me her tales from Chinese school) – and didn’t know many Koreans. I quickly lost touch with the language and now regret it so much.

    One of my 101 in 1001 items is to learn more Korean! I’ve had Rosetta Stone for nearly 2 years and have yet to use it. I feel like a fraud in my culture sometimes. 🙂

  7. April 28, 2010 12:15 pm

    I really hope you get a great opportunity to learn Chinese, I think it is a wonderful goal.

  8. abbynormally permalink
    April 28, 2010 12:28 pm

    That is SO cool! I have an uncle in Hong Kong and an Uncle in Taiwan.. so I actually got the title of your post right away!! My cousins always try to teach me some phrases when they come to visit. Ni Hao is one of the few that has stuck!

    My uncle in Taiwan is a linguist, too! He is a “distinguished professor” at a university in Taipei.

    As for me and languages… Latin and Greek! I’m an old soul! I actually teach latin once a week, and would love love love to spend the rest of my life teaching it!

  9. April 28, 2010 12:52 pm

    Aww, love the pictures.

  10. April 28, 2010 1:10 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

    I am fluent in Spanish (born in Honduras) and I took French in high school and college and can understand it pretty well.

    I think it’s great that you want to take Chinese classes! I am so thankful that my parents nagged and nagged us to never forget our Spanish. We were only allowed to speak Spanish at home, I hated it! They wouldn’t respond if we used English but now that I know both so well it is awesome.

    I am teaching my children Spanish, and my hope is that they become fluent too.

  11. clairedille permalink
    April 28, 2010 1:12 pm

    I would love to know more languages but know some spanish, and a little french. When younger I knew more french because my mothers best friend spoke to me in french often, but I wish I was more focused on it as well. I think that languages are such an important tool and can only hope that one day, my children will pick it up when young and stick with it. Love the photos!

  12. Megan permalink
    April 28, 2010 1:44 pm

    CUTE pictures!! I used to be able to speak Chinese fluently when I was little (my first words were actually in chinese, not english!) but then I gradually lost it after being surrounded by so many english speakers and not keeping up with my chinese!! Now when I try to speak I have a heavy English accent and can only say the basic words! It’s terrible!

  13. April 28, 2010 1:59 pm

    Great post – your family reminds me of my own. I always wanted to learn Chinese and hope to learn some, someday.

  14. April 28, 2010 2:05 pm

    I’m Chinese too and how to speak it but not read and write (I failed Chinese school!!). I know enough to speak with my grandma and listen to her.. although sometimes she doesn’t understand me when I try to speak it. Lol.

  15. April 28, 2010 2:08 pm

    I was forced to learn Japanese growing up–attended Japanese language school on Saturdays from the time I was five until I graduated when I was 17. In retrospect, of course I appreciate it now! My mother was a stickler and made sure she passed on her mother tongue to me…and now I am thankful for all those Saturdays sacrificed, all those Friday nights spent doing homework when other kids were out, or at least relaxing without having to do homework (in another language, to boot)!

    I’m a Translator now…the second language I was forced to learn has taken me back and forth to Japan twice to study/work — a total 6 out of 11 years in my early-to-mid 20s, and I had many opportunities to travel in the Asia Pacific region…all thanks to my second language.

    It’s never too late to learn, as long as you WANT to do it badly enough! I’ve recently picked up a third language (Spanish) and plan to be more fluent than my Mexican boyfriend someday soon…. 🙂 Go for it, Ashley, and give it your all!

  16. April 28, 2010 2:47 pm

    i wish i could speak another language!!!! my fiance is spanish and he speaks “spanglish” with his brother and sister, but not enough for me to actually pick up and learn it. i took spanish for 8 years, i can barely grasp bits of conversation, it stinks!!! time to hit the books lol

  17. April 28, 2010 3:01 pm

    What a beautiful family! I love the photos 🙂

    I moved to the U.S. when I was 11 years old, so I retained a lot of the Arabic I learned in elementary school overseas. But, I stopped reading and writing formal Arabic when I moved, so I’m kind of at a 5th grade level now, haha. I speak (informal or colloquial) Arabic fluently though. I also took French for 4 years and Spanish for another 3 years, but I couldn’t retain a thing. I can’t speak either and can barely understand a few words of each in conversation (sad, I know :-/). But really, it’s all about practice with a language. So many people told me that it’s not just about the classes you take, but more about how you put it to use in your daily life.

    You should definitely take Chinese classes and practice with your mom and aunts! 😉

  18. fromatopink permalink
    April 28, 2010 4:38 pm

    First off, SO PRETTY! 🙂 I took Chinese for 2 semesters in college and it was HARD. So hard I gave up and didn’t take the third semester my school required, taking French instead. But, like you, I wonder what it would have been like to have continued with it. A language like that can be SO useful and I sometimes regret not having stuck with it.

  19. April 28, 2010 5:29 pm

    What a cool post! love to learn more about you – and your family is SO presh btw! I hear you – ‘not cool’ for sure at that age! Sounds like you have a good springboard to learn from which is great! I’ve taken 4 years of Spanish but don’t speak – i’ve thought about learning for real but don’t know that it will help me in what I do or if i’m interested in doing it. On the fence!

  20. April 28, 2010 5:40 pm

    I don’t know any languages besides English. I wish I did!

    I remember one of my best friends having to go to Japanese school on Saturday mornings when we were in elem or middle school.

  21. April 28, 2010 7:24 pm

    I was inspired by my grandma on my mom’s side to learn Spanish in school and have since then been able to travel to Madrid and am now fluent! Her dad (my grandpa) immigrated from Germany so speaks with a heavy German accent and all of his family speaks German only. I visited them while I was studying abroad and now am DYING to learn German too. Definitely on the bucket list!

  22. April 28, 2010 7:28 pm

    I had no idea you moved around so much when you were growing up. Nor that you lived in England. I’m sure parts of it were hard, and I wouldn’t have liked changed schools that often, but part of me is still a little jealous.

    As for foreign languages I took french in high school and college. I can kind of speak it, with an awful accent, and can somewhat understand it. But I’m not close to fluent.

    Growing up I did go to Hebrew school. And while I can look at Hebrew and read it phonetically. I don’t actually understand what I’m reading, nor can I speak it at all.

  23. April 28, 2010 9:29 pm

    Awesome pictures! What a beautiful family!

    I am fluent in American Sign Language. Used to be an interpreter and now I work with students who are deaf in my career 🙂

  24. April 28, 2010 9:34 pm

    I think you are very pretty 🙂
    Same deal here, I don’t know Spanish, but should 😦 I know basics, but I want to be able to communicate!

  25. Megan permalink
    April 28, 2010 10:03 pm

    Ni hao 🙂

  26. April 29, 2010 1:57 pm

    Awww – such lovely pics!
    What a cute family you have 🙂
    Chinese must be a great language!
    You go, girl!
    Have a great day!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,

  27. April 29, 2010 5:43 pm

    aww such a beautiful family 🙂

  28. Katherine: What About Summer? permalink
    April 29, 2010 7:44 pm

    I think it would be amazing to be multilingual, but I am in a unilanguage rut. Your family is gorgeous! It is great that you get to experience the grasps of another culture

  29. April 29, 2010 7:58 pm

    You are such a beautiful family! And I had to go to Greek School, and my sister and I BEGGED to get out of it too…and my parents also finally relented. But, now I regret it and wish I spoke better Greek…

  30. April 29, 2010 8:59 pm

    first of all, love the family photos.

    and I’m like you, i’m half japanese and wish i knew how to speak it. one day i might take the initiative. i do speak french though.

  31. May 1, 2010 12:06 am

    I just know how to speak my native language, Tagalog (Philippines) and English! I’d love to learn other language as well, I wanna learn Japanese, Spanish and French.

  32. dmcgirl37 permalink
    May 1, 2010 8:00 am

    Love the photos of you and the family, you look awesome!
    I wish I new other languages. There is still time to learn though.

  33. May 1, 2010 10:12 pm

    Sadly enough I used to be fluent in Chinese, it was my first language. Over the years though, I lost it 😦 Now I still understand it mostly – and only very basic things but it’s really hard for me to speak it.

    Cutest thing ever? My bf is doing Chinese lessons on a program like Rosetta Stone so that he can talk to my parents. He’s going to end up knowing more than me!!

  34. May 3, 2010 11:29 am

    Ni hao!
    I love languages and pick them up really quickly. I always thought I’d know a million by now. But language classes met so early in college that I let my laziness get in the way of exploring Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin…At one point I was close to fluent in Hebrew (Hebrew school…) and French too.
    If I were a lady of leisure I would travel all over the world and study language.

  35. May 4, 2010 7:02 pm

    What a beautiful family!

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