Xiǎo mèimei, I hope you aren’t too mad at me. I can picture you perfectly, shaking your head side to side when I tell you. But, you’re smiling while you do it because that’s what you do. You smile a lot. I like that about you. Maybe I’m trying to prepare you so I know you’ll forgive me. Maybe just a little. But, it’s true; I do love your smile and how often you show it.
You worked so hard to teach me Chinese. You pointed things out to me in the park–a rock, a waterfall, flowers, fish, a dragon, a weird scary statue dude. You so carefully enunciated what each word was in Mandarin. I’d nod my head and echo you…or try to. Sometimes you smiled bigger and gave me a thumbs up. That always made me feel good. Sometimes you smiled bigger and made me keep trying. I’m not used to a tonal language, you know. A couple times you said something that I was told meant good enough. Thanks for showing a bit of mercy, xiǎo lǎoshī.
You used toys and paints to have me say colors. And, I did too. You’d say it in Mandarin, then I’d say it in Mandarin. I’d say it in English, then you’d say it in English. Every interaction we had took way longer than it needed to. And, they were perfect that way because we both were enjoying it. Not because I got to learn Chinese and you were learning English but because we figured out a way to connect. You knew right away that we couldn’t understand each other, and you figured out a way to give us a common language.
You gave me a really, really good start so that I could say a bit more words than I started with. I promised I’d keep learning. But, I confess, I’m just as bad at Mandarin as I was when I saw you last. I’d like to learn Mandarin, but it’s super super hard for me. But, I really really like connecting with you, so I’m happy to learn from you whenever our paths may cross again.
“Annalise” just turned 9 years old in January, is healthy, and currently available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. Any potential families must like big smiles, dancing, and learning Chinese. Email me or [email protected] for more information.