Here’s a video of some racquet ball dancing outside the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

That’s me picking up their ball at the end of the performance. She said “Hseigh Hseigh” which means “Thank You.” I should’ve said “Buyong Hseigh” as a “You’re Welcome.” But, I was too flustered and could only mutter a “Hseigh Hseigh” of my own.

English Translation:

Chinese woman: Thank You.

Me: Thank You.

Oh yes, I’m cosmopolitan.

I’m finding that it can be better to avoid pretensions of using Chinese. I’ve learned about five Mandarin words and try to use them to avoid judgment as a total Yankee imperialist. However, after throwing around a few words last night, a woman engaged me with a long Chinese sentence.

Now, I haven’t bothered to learn how to say, “No. I can’t really speak your language. I’m just faking it,” so instead I muttered in English: “Pardon me?” She responded by saying something else in Chinese and giggling. I giggled as well and we both offered large smiles as we awkwardly departed each other’s company. Although I’m sure we both knew the translation for “Good Bye” neither of us had the nerve to say it.