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(From "ROUND TWO: The Year Of The Chloe")


Dear Journal,

The question I’m asked the most by everyone I meet, all day long, all over our city is “Can you speak Chinese?” Right away, I asked my dad to teach me how to say “Sorry. I don’t understand.” (Duìbùqǐ. Wǒ tīng bù dǒng) But my dad said it would be much easier to just reply with two simple words: “Yi dian, dian” which means “a little”. This was a bad idea. I quickly discovered that when I answer “Yi dian, dian” it makes people think I CAN speak Chinese and then follow up with a hundred more questions I don’t understand! The conversations usually go something like this…

Stranger: Hello. Can you speak Chinese?

Me: A little.

Stranger: That’s great!

Then I start to sound really stupid…

Stranger: What’s your name?

Me: A little.

Stranger: Huh?

Stranger: How old are you?

Me: A little.

Stranger: Where are you from?

Me: A little.

Stranger thinking to himself: (Wow. American kids are pretty dumb!)

One time, however, I got lucky…

Stranger: Hello little friend. Do you speak Chinese?

Me: A little.

Stranger: Do you like living in K-Town?

Me: A little.

Stranger: Do you like Chinese food?

Me: A little.

Stranger: Your Chinese is Amazing!

Me: A little.

When the stranger gave me two thumbs up and walked off the elevator smiling and shaking his head in disbelief, I knew I had pulled off the impossible! Dad was smiling so big, but it wasn’t until we got home that I found out just how lucky I had been. When dad told our whole family about the man’s questions and my correct two-word response, we laughed so hard we could barely breathe.

Afterward, mom excitedly asked me if I was ready to learn more Chinese.

Me: Duìbùqǐ. Wǒ tīng bù dǒng!!!

Dear God,

You know I've been praying since even before I got here that I would find at least ONE good friend who speaks English, but I don't know if that's possible. Dad told me the story about Moses tonight and how You told him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharoah to let Your people go free. Moses didn't want to go and didn't want to talk to Pharoah. He said he wasn't good at talking and that's how I feel right now. I like how You responded to Moses after he complained:

Exodus 4:11-12 “Who made a person’s mouth? And who can make someone deaf or not able to speak? Who can make a person blind? Who can make a person able to see? I am the one. I am the Lord. So go. I will be with you when you speak. I will give you the words to say.”

God, I hope you will bring me a good friend, but I'm also willing to try and learn some Chinese. I'll start by practicing the simple Chinese lesson mom wrote out for me tonight. Please help me. Please give me the words to say when people talk to me. And thanks for making my mouth. I really like eating pizza with it!

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