Thursday, April 24, 2008

Zai jian

My husband and I have just finished a semester of Conversational Chinese at the local university with Yan Yong, a young professor who came from China for a year as a Fulbright Scholar. It has been an amazing, challenging and wonderful experience to learn more about the language and culture that is part of the heritage of one of our grandsons. Yan is a linguist and a truly gifted teacher. I realize how much I don't know after one semester, but I also realize we have come a long ways. My husband and I can now carry on basic conversations in Chinese, and no one around us here in central Texas is likely to understand what we're saying--even people who actually speak Chinese because our pronunciation is so bad!

What I didn't count on was becoming so fond of our teacher. Saying goodbye to her Tuesday evening after the final exam, was really hard. She has the harder task of parting with many people she has come to know over the last two semesters, but I have no doubt her family and her fiance are waiting expectantly for her to return home. What a blessing she has been in our lives, a blessing that will continue to bless our little grandson now that all his grandparents speak at least a little Chinese (his other grandmother grew up speaking Chinese. Hopefully he will be encouraged to pass on his rich heritage to his children as well. The Bible teaches that God's blessings run to children and children's children. Yan has blessed our family far into the future. Zai Jian, by the way, is the Chinese way of saying good bye, and it literally means see again. A good way to say good bye. That English expression, by the way, has been shortened from the original "God be with ye," also a good way to say good bye.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue