I often watched the ebb and flow of the conversation around me. Free from following the words, it was amazing to just watch the dynamics of a conversation. The gathering of such a large extended family reminded me of my own clan back home, especially the way they all seemed to talk at once, laughing often and easily. Despite being unable to understand them literally, on another plane, they did speak my language. Their kindess flowed to me in many other ways. One cousin was determined to introduce me to everyone – it seemed to me that I had to call everyone “Cousin”, the word in Cantonese being gender specific (like in English we have nephew and niece) so really I only had to learn two words “boy-cousin” and “girl-cousin” and not each individual’s name!
9 replies to Lost for words
Thanks for sharing this, Byddi. I'm sorry to hear of your and your husband's loss. May you both be well.
i imagine that someday you'll look back on this post and things you forgot will suddenly come alive again. do give allan a big hug from us… words just aren't adequate at a time like this, but we are thinking of you both.
What an enlightening post thanks for sharing, and sorry for your troubles.
The different rituals and cultural traditions are fascinating. My dad's funeral last year was quite a contrast to your mother-in-laws, other than the bereaved family members.
The fact that you are trying to learn such a difficult language is a testament to your spunk. I think I'd probably give up and just wing some sign language!
Christine in Alaska
Christine – Sorry that you lost your Dad last year – it's hard to get used to them not being here anymore. I miss mine everyday and he's gone just over two years now.
Sorry to hear of your loss. The cultural traditions are fascinating to read about, as I know little to nothing about China. Though I'm quite familiar with Irish customs.
My good friend has her twins in a bilingual Chinese school in San Francisco where they learn Mandarin. They were born in China and their 'nanny' speaks Mandarin, so it's incredible to hear them speaking – and writing -Mandarin at 6 years old.
Good luck with your Cantonese. It sounds like a real challenge.
Alice – it is a real challenge – even more so in San Jose – I need total immersion to learn a language. So far I'm only fluent in English and tend to get lazy if there are other English speakers – mind you with my Irish accent, it can be a challenge getting people to understand me in California as it is!
Thank you for sharing such a personal loss. The traditions are so inspiring and unique. It's strange because yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my father's death which I felt the need to write about. I think it helps us all to share these profound life and death experiences with each other. My sympathy to you and your family.
Kathy – I read your post this morning and was very touched by it – I too held my Dad's hand as he passed away. A profound moment. Thank you for commenting.
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