Maria Holland

A Letter Home

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Today is a rainy day in Xiamen, perhaps our first one?  I went to class this morning and then returned to my room to study.  It works out because that’s pretty much what rainy days are for!  Today, I was assigned my first homework assignment since I got here – well, at least the first one that took me longer than 10 minutes.  We had to write a letter home, so I wrote a letter to my mom parent’s, whom I haven’t talked to in a few months.  For your viewing pleasure, here is the original Chinese, the babelfish translation (always good for a laugh) and my English words. 



我来厦门的时候,一个人都没认识过,所以很多事情很麻烦。 租房间,报名,买手机,延长签证,我几天都办好了。可是过了一个半月才办了好学生证!

我住在校园里面的一个宿舍。我有一个同屋,她叫 Leinira,是从 Cape Verde 来的。我非常喜欢她,她像我的姐姐。我们两个人住在一个房间,有两张床,一个洗澡间,还有阳台。








Dear grandfathers grandmother,

You are good? I am very good. I have lived in more than two months in Xiamen! My Chinese progressed many. Besides on Chinese class, I also every day use Chinese to eat meal, go shopping, ride the public vehicle, and so on.

I come Xiamen’s time, people have not known, therefore many matters are very troublesome. Rents a room, the registration, buys the handset, the extension visa, my several days handled. But one half a month has only then managed the good student identity card!

I live inside the campus a dormitory. I have a roommate, she calls Leinira, is comes from Cape Verde. I like her, she look like me the elder sister. Both of us live in a room, two beds, a bath room, but also has the balcony.

Originally, I am one year under student. Midterm examination’s time, I test very well, therefore I thought that class was too easy. I have traded to two years on, now I think this class appropriate spot. My schoolmates do not divide come from Asia, Europe, with the Americas.

Not only I study Chinese, moreover study dances! I come time, I had discovered some teachers, their each Wednesday, six, together jump the social dancing. They let me participate, at the same time has studied several dances, at the same time becomes friends, plays.

I have free time, I like in the seashore taking a walk. Seashore the place which lives to me is very near, walks, so long as five minutes arrived! Eight in September Xiamen weather has been too hot, but in November is very comfortable, therefore I like strolling the seashore very much, specially sunset’s time.

Weekend’s time, I arrive frequently with the roommate dance. Saturday night, on me church. On Sunday has an English mass, but I thought that Chinese mass is better much, because I may also practice the hearing.

I think of you very much! My in next July returned to homeland, the time is not too long. You take care the body,



Grandma and Grandpa –

How are you?  I am doing very well.  I have been here in Xiamen for over 2 months now!  My Chinese is getting better because, in addition to Chinese classes, I use Chinese to eat, shop, take buses, etc. 

I didn’t know a single person when I came, so a lot of things were very frustrating.  I rented a dorm room, registered for classes, bought a cell phone, and extended my visa in the first few days, but it took a month and a half to get my student card. 

I live on campus in the dormitory.  I have a roommate named Leinira, who is from Cape Verde.  I really like my roommate – she is like a sister.  We live together in one room with two beds, a bathroom, and a balcony. 

Originally, I was placed into the second semester of first year Chinese.  I did really well on the test so I decided it was too easy.  I changed classes to the first semester of the second year and think this class is a better fit for me.  My classmates are Asians, Europeans, and Americans.

I am not only studying Chinese – I’m also learning how to dance!  My first week here, I found a group of teachers who get together twice a week for a social dance, and they let me join them.  I am learning a lot of dances, having fun, and making friends. 

When I have free time, I like to go on walks by the beach.  The beach is very close to where I live – only five minutes walking!  The weather was very hot in August and September, but October and November are very comfortable, so I like going for walks on the beach, especially during the sunset.

On weekends, I often go out with my roommate to bars to dance.  On Saturday evenings, I go to Mass.  There is an English Mass on Sundays, but I think the Chinese Mass is better because I can also work on my listening comprehension. 

I miss you very much!  I’ll be back next July, which isn’t too far away.  Take care!

~ Maria

The part of this assignment that took so long is the actual Chinese handwriting.  I know my painfully-simple letter doesn’t look like much, but it filled two sheets of paper! 

  1. do you actually hand write (draw) the Chinese characters or do you type them? Hope that isn’t too stupid a question, but I don’t remember you talking about the actual art of the drawing them………….. Do you ever just miss dray?
    Loving those blogs……..

  2. Typing Chinese is easy and takes about as long as typing English (sometimes faster)!. Writing, on the other hand . . . well I guess handwriting isn’t the speediest thing in the world no matter which language, but Chinese seems especially slow and sometimes tedious. I just write with a pen or pencil, but calligraphy (with a brush and ink) is even slower!

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