Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Chinese name

My name in Chinese isn't that different from my regular name.

Technically, my name should be pronounced "eh-may." Aimee comes from the French verb "aimer" (to love) and means beloved.

In Chinese, the word "ai" means love. "Mei" means beautiful.

Our Mandarin teacher said my name would be "Ai-mei" (Eye-may). I think it's a nice name! :-)

In Chinese, though, the last name comes first. Our last name means "forest." Interesting...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Learning a new language

Last week was the last week of our 6-week Mandarin Chinese course. The class was through Webster University and was downtown in the Old Post Office.

I am going to take the next class so I can continue to learn a bit more Mandarin. They are going to let DH audit the course since he already knows the language. :-) He's there mostly for moral support and to answer some questions I have.

So far, I've learned how to say some basic things, like asking someone how they are doing, and having a brief conversation about that. We have also learned numbers, immediate family members (mom, dad, sister, etc.), and some basic sentence structures.

I have studied several languages in high school and college. One of my degrees is in French. I also took a year of Spanish in high school, 1 Italian class in
college, and 2 semesters of German in college. I really enjoy learning foreign languages, and luckily, it was something that came easily to me.

Chinese, though, is quite different than any of the languages I have previously studied! There are a few things I find quite interesting about the Chinese language.

1) Verbs are not conjugated. In all the other languages I have studied, verbs are always conjugated. In French, it is "je suis" (I am), "tu es" (you are), "nous sommes" (we are). In Chinese, it is "wo shi" (I am), "ta shi" (you are), "women shi" (we are).

2) Adding on to number one, there are no tenses in Chinese. No past, present, future, imperfect, etc. Just the one. They use words like yesterday, next year, etc. to explain time. So, no matter when something happened, the verb is the same. (shi = to be, whether it was 10 years ago, now, or 20 years from now)

3) When you talk about yourself as being hungry, tired, busy, etc. the verb "shi" is left out. You wouldn't say "Wo shi lei."(I am tired.) The correct way to say it is "Wo lei." (I tired.) No wonder it is hard for those who speak Mandarin to learn English!

4) "Shi" means a LOT of different things! So far, we have learned 5 different meanings for this one word. It's a bit complicated! It can mean: to be, ten, room, and city. The characters for each "shi" are different.

5) The tones are a bit tricky to master! In Chinese, there are "accents" on many letters, telling you how to pronounce the word. One means to go up with your voice at the end of the word. Another is a flat tone. Another goes down and then up within the same word, and the last just goes down at the end of the word. It has been hard for us native English speakers to get this part down in class!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hairstylist recommendations around St. Charles?

I was wondering if any of you ladies around the St. Charles area had a recommendation for a hairstylist/colorist?

I was going to the gal who did my hair for the wedding, but she's pretty far away. I would like to find someone closer who is reasonably priced. They need to be somewhat experienced (I don't think a student would be good) because my hair pulls red really easily.

How to decide on album pictures?!

We haven't gotten around to choosing our photos that will be in our wedding album yet. Our photography package included a credit towards an album. We just need to pick the photos and send them to the album designer.

I'm having a hard time choosing about 140 photos. There are so many wonderful photos that I love! I think it's going to take a while. I plan to pull my favorites first, no matter how many there are. Then slowly, we will have to eliminate some until we get down to a decent number!

I wanted to upload some of my favorite pictures, but Blogger wasn't cooperating. I don't know if the file size is too big or what. Bummer!

I ended up creating another album on Facebook with a few of my favorites. If you are reading this and aren't one of my friends on Facebook, leave me a comment with your name or a way that I can connect to you on Facebook.

ETA: You can try this link to see if it works:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Oh, how I love a good deal!

DH and I went to the Banana Republic outlet at The Mills Mall last weekend. I had received an email earlier that week that there was a big sale going on.

I picked up a few sweaters (still debating if I'm going to keep all of them) at good prices. Each was 40% off.

The best deal, I think, was on 2 pairs of shoes. I'm
definitely keeping the pink pair (rose verbena, a fuchsia color). I'm debating about the blue. The Emilia Suede Flat was originally $69.99 at BR. With the sale going on at the Outlet, I got the shoes for $17 each! What a steal! I love the color of the cura blue, but am not quite sure what to wear it with. It doesn't seem to look right with jeans. If I wore black pants, I'm not quite sure what color shirt would look good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and gets to spend time with family and friends.

We are looking forward to going over to my parents' house in Alton later today. My sister, nana, and aunt will also be there. This year, we invited our friends N & N and their son Noah. I'm looking forward to seeing the little guy! He's growing so fast! He will be 1 in January, and his new sister Mia will join the family in March.