Happy Harvesting & Cantonese

Body language/ word battles, Learning Cantonese, Village Life, 香港 HongKong 3 Comments »

7th June 2017

Yesterday morning I was super super happy! And I cannot stop beeing happy, when I am looking back.

So, what happened?

I was looking for my landlady in order to pay my rent. My landlady is typical Hakka lady in her 80ies and she is my neighbor, too! Knowing she is an early bird, I went to her home at around 7am in the morning. The door of her house was open, but all the lights are off. So, I knew she must be at home, but not IN the house. Finally, I found her in the backyard, where she was harvesting something with a long pole.

Me: Po po! Po po! Jou san! Jou san!
Me: Old woman! Old woman! Good morning! Good morning!

She: Jou san, Nobu!
She: Good morning, Nobu!

She (pointed on the tree, stopped harvesting): Lei sik m sik a? Lei jung m jung yi?
She (pointed on the tree, stopped harvesting): Do you eat it? Do you like it?

My thought: Awesome, myself! I CAN understand two sentences in a row! Wow!

Me: Ghoh di hai m hai man go?
Me: Are those Mangoes?

She: … hai ya!
She: … yes!

Me: M sik! M jung yi!
Me: I eat! I like!

The landlady turned the back to me. She took the long pole and kicked the mangoes. One mango fell down from the tree to the ground. “Boong”, when it fell down to the the ground. “Boong” a second one fell down. A third one. I got very excited! I witnessed a mango harvesting! Wow!

She bent down to pick two mangoes, washed them and was going to give me a bag.

Me: Doi, m sai!
Me: Bag, I do not need!

She handed over the freshly harvested mangoes to me.

Me: Dor je!!! Ngo hou hou hoi sum! Hou heung!
Me: Thank you! I am so so happy! So good smelling.

That was the moment, when I realized, it was not a mango. It was a green papaya… So fragnant and so sweet!! How much have they grown in the garden?

The landlady – I call her Popo – then used her hand to inform me how to eat and how to cook it.

She took her flat hand and slide over the surface of the papaya.
(my interpretation: I need to peel it)
Then she pretended to bite into the Papaya and then cross her two index fingers.
(my interpretation: Do not eat the papaya as it is).

Then she pointed on her arm, accompanied with the word “Jyu”, which means pork. Then she put her hands continuously up and down.
(my interpretation: cook the papaya with pork in a pot with fire – probably in a soup?).

Followed by her smile. And my smile, accompanied with my nodding head.

This made my day! I love my village life! I love her kindness! I love our smiles! I love the way of our communication! And I love the papaya!

 

 

 

 

 

The long white pole was the tool for harvesting the papaya. Popo’s eye must be good, that she can see them clearly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning today!

Sunrise/-set, Village Life, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

6th June 2017

I did not sleep well last night. It was too hot, too humid and I had some nightmares. My mood was not good at all … until I opened the curtain and the window: I spotted how the sky was colorfully changing.

Instantly, I grabbed my breakfast from the kitchen, rushed to my roof top, find a comfortable position! And watched the lovely start of a sunrise at 5:26 am,  accompanied with happily singing birds and a mild refreshing breeze of wind. The “show” can start!

I ♥ the pastel colors, I ♥ how the sun-rays break through the clouds, I ♥ how the clouds are dancing with the sunrays!

Wait… Do you also see that? The the longer I watched it, the more I witnessed (in my mind):  The moment when the dog says “Good morning!” to the dragon.
What a wonderful moment! Good morning dog! Good morning dragon! Good morning myself!

What do YOU see?

Good morning everyone!

Cantonese smalltalk @street market

Entries, Learning Cantonese, Village Life, 香港 HongKong 2 Comments »

5th June 2017

From time to time I see an old lady selling vegetables on a footbridge. Her skin is well tanned from the sun, her fingertips’ skin is hard, her fingers are crooked and her back is round. She refused to be on a photo, so, I will describe her in words as much as possible. We hardly talk as she is talking  Hakka-Cantonese (which is much different than the “standard” Cantonese). Nevertheless, she smiles, when she sees me (maybe because I am her customer ?) and speaks extra slowly Cantonese to me.

I am not sure, but I guess she has grown these vegetables in her own garden/field/farm and she has harvested it.  So far, I bought three times at her little hand made booth, presenting vegetables on a huge plastic mat. The vegetables are per-weighted and she is selling it by “bunches”.

“E ghoh, gei chin?” [How much is this?] I pointed on the garlic leaves. She looked up – she is much smaller than me.  She smiled at me, took my hand and with the other fingers’ of the other hand, she showed me how much it is.  Additionally, she answered with a rough voice “Ng mon!” [5 dollar]. “Ngo yiu liang ghoh!” [I need two of these!] I answered. I love garlic leaves!

In fact, I love her vegetables. They are crunchy, juicy, full of flavor … and there are turning bad naturally after few days. It sounds weird, hm? For me this is a sign, that these vegetables are natural. Some of the veggies in HKG are just not that natural (from my own experience).

Beside her vegetables, I love that lady. She is adorable! I wish one day I could talk more with her!! e.g. when she will be back (^▽^喜), so I will not miss her and her yummy vegetables! Joi kin! [See you next time!]

My “harvest” at her booth. –>

Yeah!~♪ (★^▽^)V

I am looking forward to my dinner!

 

Sunbathing blankets

Entries, Village Life, 香港 HongKong 1 Comment »

29th May 2017

I love walking along the light rail in the New Territories. Firstly, I will not get lost. Secondly, I will walk along streets I usually would not walk. Thirdly I can discover the HKG’s local life! Along the light there are a lot of villages! The atmosphere is different than in the city. I can see the sky, the people hardly speak English, no sky scrapers and less people, which makes going for walk much comfortable.

This time I discovered: Sunbathing blankets!

Huge blankets in different colors and size  are hanging on the public rails or (probably self-installed) string between trees. Some of them are wet. Some of them are drying in the warm sunrays, some of them just do “sunbathing”.

I have been told by a friend that those people (hanging blankets in the public) do not have the space to hang the blankets in their own living area. Probably too small home, no balcony or no rooftop. So, they found their own way to dry or sunbath blankets. I was wondering whether they would not be afraid that someone would stole their blankets as I also could not spot someone who was guarding the blankets. Obviously, it is all based on TRUST! WOW!!!

I wish I could have a nap now one those by sunrays warmed blankets!

Happy Cantonese!

Body language/ word battles, Entries, Learning Cantonese, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

15th May 2017

Today I am very happy, because I had my first “kind of proper” CANTONESE conversation with my landlady when I was going to pay the rent at her home.

My landlady is a typical Hakka lady in her 80ies. I used to communicate with her with the help of her daughter, the property agent and/or my friends. Although I know she does not understand Mandarin, I kept speaking with her in Mandarin, in the big desperate hope, she would understand one or two words.

Her house’s door is always open, when she is at home. She does not have a bell, the only way to ask her come out, is shouting.

Me: Po po! Po po! Jou san! Jou san! chin lai a!
Me: Old woman! Old woman! Good morning! Good morning! Money arrived!

She ( somewhere from the house): bin ghoh x x x  ngo a?
She: Who x x x  me?

Me: ngo hai a! Ngo hai Nobu!
Me: It is me! It is Nobu!

She: dang dang! Ngo lai x x x
She: Wait for a while! I come x x x

[…]

She: lei x x x  hoi sum
She: You x x x  happy!

Me (to be humble): m hai! Po po, lei sik jor fan mei a?
Me (to be humble): Nooooo, I am not! Old woman, have you eaten?

She: sik jor la! Lei le?
She: I have eaten already! What about you?

Me: dai sik jor la!
Me: I have already eaten, too.

Frankly, speaking I have not understand each word, but I think I got the key words. I also did not know the word for “rent” or “pay”, I just used words I have learned in my Cantonese class during the last 4 weeks so far.

The conversation was simple and yet so fruitful and so happy!

Everyone, have a happy Monday!

Wushu competition in Wan Chai 2017

Entries, Martial Art: Qigong, Tai Chi, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

12th May 2017

我参加了我第三个武术比赛 (省港澳武術邀請賽 2017): 比赛对我来说,不是赢或者输的问题。比赛只是一个目的,通过比赛面对自己的弱点,不再抗拒。是一个会让我进步的办法。最大的对手是我自己的不自觉。
2年练习的结果是在比赛裁判看着的两分钟。活在当下。只有一次机会。
这次我最自豪的是打破自己的记录。得到了8.95分?!
我一定继续加油吧!

★〓★〓★

★〓★〓★

Last month I have participated at the Hong Kong Macao Wushu Competition in Wan Chai together with my Kung Fu sister Mariko, who is also a student of the Natural Energy Academy under Joe Lok. Our master, Jenny, Fanny and James came to support and assist us.

Compared to the Shatin competition, which I have mentioned earlier, this competition was much smaller (only half day!), more expensive (individual with one performance cost 250 HKD) and much more exciting! There have been more “rare” martial artists, which I have not seen before and they are so awesome!

For me, competition is not about WIN or LOOSE the game. It is about having a target. Through this target I am facing my weakness: there is no way to run away from difficulties and resistance. It is my way to improve my form. The biggest enemy in the competition is not my opponent, but my own unawareness.

This time I have performed “5 elements punching form” with slightly changes. (Coming to this point, I had the thought that I could add an video link here to invite you, to have a look at the competition. Let me think about it!)

Everything what I have learned, experienced in these 2 years, was squeezed into 2 minutes of my life during the competition. This made me so nervous, that I forgot my steps during the warming up! In fact, I only have this chance, there is no next time in this moment. NOW. Live the moment. Do not expect anything. I can do it!

I did it. And I enjoyed it! I felt powerful and calm! And you know what?  I broke my own record again! I got 8, 95 points (out of 10!). And not only that… I even got a gold medal! Wow!! It was my first time to win something and I could not believe for a while (^▽^;).

I will definitely continue to practice and improve! See you at the next competition!

The sound of Cantonese language

Entries, Learning Cantonese, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

11th May 2017

Recently I have started to learn Cantonese. Not just words here and there. And give up. And pick it up again. No, in a course with a teacher, classmates, on a regular basis, daily practice with strangers as well as friends.

I have been here so long time, and all these years I did not really need Cantonese. There was always a way to communicate with body language, English or Mandarin. In fact, I resisted learning Cantonese. First of all, I felt Cantonese is an aggressive language. It sounds like a machine gun. Every time when I listened to the news I had the feeling that the reporters were angry, and that they quarreled and shouted at each other. Not seldom I got headache by just listening the news. Secondly, I was afraid to mix up Cantonese and Mandarin.

So, why did I start learning Cantonese now?

I have a desire: I would like to communicate with my local friends, join more volunteer activities,  gain a deeper knowledge about the local life and be able to communicate with my landlord (without translator).
PLUS I am confident enough that I am not going to mix up Cantonese and Mandarin.

During the class, I have realized Cantonese is not an aggressive language, but an energetic one. It requires a lot of mouth and face movement. It is almost like a mouth+face yoga!

The Cantonese teacher encourages the students to write the sounds in our own languages, additionally to the Yale-System (= Cantonese Pinyin).  I found it quite helpful to use another language to learn a new language (without getting confused!). I am using now Japanese and German to remember the Cantonese word.  Can you recognize them in the picture?

Not only that, it is also fun! In this way, pronunciation is much easier and – in my case – also lowers the resistance level to talk. (P.S. Tones cannot be remembered by this method.)

Through the Cantonese lessons, I have discovered again the joy of learning a new language! There will be further entries about Cantonese! So, stay tuned!

Cantonese Slang (1): 掃街

Learning Cantonese, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

10th May 2017

I came across an interesting Cantonese word while I was reading a food magazine:

“掃街” (sou3 gaai1*)

What is that!?

Ok, let me breakdown this word first. It consists of two words

掃 (sou3*)  = to sweep, to broom  &  街 (gaai1*) = street

So, it literally means “sweep the street”.

But why  “掃街” is mentioned in a food magazine and what is the relationship between “sweeping the street” and food?

Well, “掃街” describes the action of walking along the street and eating different street food and snacks e.g. egg waffle, stinky tofu, curry fish balls, sweet-sour soup, chicken wings, deep fried veggies, . All kinds of food-to-go!

In fact, “掃街” is a popular activity in Hong Kong. I also did it a lot, especially when I have just arrived in Hong Kong. Mong Kok, Prince Edward, Hung Hom etc. –  without knowing that this activity has a Cantonese word!

What is your favorite district/area/street to “掃街”ing?

 

* Cantonese Pinyin is based on “Yale system”.

Wushu competition Shatin district 2017

Martial Art: Qigong, Tai Chi, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

4th May 2017

With some delay, I would like to share with you my experience on the Wushu competition for Shatin District at the beginning of this year.

This competition is quite a big one in Hong Kong. In 2016 as well this year, it was held on 2 days from 9 am to 9pm!  It seems this competition is well known among Wushu and Chinese Martial Art Lovers. Last year and this year, a wide range of age groups – from 5 years to 80 years old – and various styles of Chinese martial artists gathered together to participate at this competition and to demonstrate their skills.

This year I attend the competition with 3 of my Kung Fu sisters. And other Kung Fu sisters came to support us! And our master also came!  We all are training in the Natural Energy Academy under master Joe Lok.

I performed “5 elements punching form”. And i broke my own record! I am so so happy! In the previous competition I have received only 7.xx points with almost the same form. This “5 elements punching form” was more powerful. But now I achieved 8.14 (out of 10) points!! What a progress!! Well done myself! So happy!

I am very proud of myself, that I decided to participate at this competition. I used to hate competitions. I had put down my fear to loose, to fail. Joining a competition means (for me) to set a target and practice and improve until the competition came and enjoying every little progress. What I have learned from this process was “Expect nothing and appreciate everything!”

The Shatin District Competition is usually held beginning of the year. And enrollment would start around 3 months before that. Participation costs are relatively low. It starts from 60 Hong Kong Dollar/per person/per form. It is reasonable. And even you do not do any martial art, watching the performance is pretty awesome! Some of the moves I have seen before just in one of those Jackie Chan movies. WOW! It is so exciting! So, maybe I see you there in 2018?

All life is encounter

Thoughts, 香港 HongKong No Comments »

14th February 2017

Back in 199x, I met Yang Wei Wei in Shenyang. If I had not met her and her family, I would probably never be interested in China, their language and their culture and …. I would never had the dream of working in China …. and ….  I would be never here in Hong Kong!

My mom asked me whether I still have contact with her. And I answered that I have lost the contact with her. My father asked me as well and I denied.

Last night my Chinese teacher asked me “What if you meet Wei Wei again, what would you do? What would you say, when she stands in front of her?” …. I could not answered immediately, instead my eyes filled with tears and I started to cry.  That moment when I cried, I AWARE that I was the one killed any possibilities to find her and family again because I am afraid of the language barrier, rejection, fear and disappointment. Finally I answered “I would cry. I would hug her. And then thank you her and tell her how our faith changed and influenced my life!”

In fact, I have nothing too loose, except some tears. The language barrier is not a problem any more, because my Chinese has improved!

I am now gathering information, I am determined to write a letter in Chinese to “my” old high-school in Shenyang. They might have some further information. I will keep you update!

 

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