How China has outpaced Europe

I’ve read recently that McDonalds is now introducing a delivery service for it’s customers in the UK. Wow!!

Actually in China…. this has been happening for quite a while now! When myself and my fiancé just started dating, we would sometimes order a McDonalds. It was so easy! Log on, order your food… and bam, it should be on the way to yours pretty soon! The delivery people are usually on electric bikes; so they can whizz past all the traffic.

But anyway, China has certainly outpaced Europe with some things! We have found a Chinese phone app called 饿了吗?Hungry? and we are so happy we have figured out how to use it! As the app is all in Chinese, you do need to know some characters before you start using this.

When you open the app, restaurants nearby will pop up. Each restaurant has pictures of the food, so even if you don’t know the Chinese characters, you can easily find out what dish it is. So you click the food you want, and then you pay. My fiancés bank account is linked to his Wechat account, so the money is taken directly from that. Wechat is Chinas equivalent of WhatApp.

Then it’s done! With some restaurants, we can actually see the delivery driver on our map driving in real time. He picks the food up, and then we can see him (the blue dot)  driving to our community, parking the bike, and then we know he will be here pretty soon! It’s so easy and cheap! And we have become so lazy!

Usually we get discounts for ordering online. Plus, the food at most takes 45 minutes to arrive. Sometimes even half an hour!

I know in Ireland at least they have started delivering food, but in China it’s been here around for quite a while! China may be backwards with some things, but with technology it really is advancing!

再见

爱玲

Tackling Spanish

Tackling Spanish

For the past 1.5 years my head has been tortured with learning Chinese… now I’m not saying I don’t enjoy learning it, of course I do… just sometimes you need a break from all those thousands of characters once in a while!

Since meeting my boyfriend and visiting Mexico and his family, I’ve become more and more interested in learning Spanish. In Secondary school and Uni I chose to study French instead of Spanish, so I’ve literally had to start from the basics with Spanish. haha now that my French has completely disappeared, (not that there was much in the first place) I don’t think I’ll have any trouble mixing the two languages up!

I’ve started using an application called Anki, where it makes flashcards and what not for you… I’ve been using it for my Chinese also, but to be honest it’s very hard to use,for me anyway, it’s a bit too technical! I’ve ended up having to delete my whole Spanish deck of words and download it again, as I messed with the cards and didn’t know how to rectify it. So it does take some time to get used to and know how to use it properly.

In comparison to Chinese… I must say I remember the vocab much easier in Spanish. No characters to learn, no tones… just a straight up spanish word and thats it!

My pronunciation needs work on though, as I still pronounce letters like in English.. oh and the ‘r’ sound still annoys me.

And because my head is also in ‘Chinese mode’, whenever I see a Spanish phrase like ‘Does he want a t-shirt?’ and I need to think a second for the answer, instinctively the Chinese translation of it will enter my head.

But I have to say, when comparing the two languages.. I really do appreciate some things about Chinese. The grammar isn’t as tricky as say English or Spanish. There are no conjugations or gender specific words. The language is also a bit more concise.

What I also enjoy about Chinese are how words are literally translated:

fridge = ice box (bing  xiang/冰箱)

computer = electric brain (dian nao/ 电脑)

yogurt = sour milk (suan nai/酸奶)

And don’t get me started on the literal translations of animals!

dolphin = sea piglet (hai tun/海豚)

kangaroo= bag mouse (dai shu/ 袋鼠)

giraffe= long neck deer ( chang jing lu/ 长颈鹿)

These are just a few of the interesting translations!

I think every person studying Chinese gets a laugh when they find out the translation of different things in Chinese!

But anyway, back to Spanish!

As I’ve only been studying for about a week now, I know I’ve only barely touched the surface of this language. When I start to learn the grammar properly and the conjugations is when I might begin to tear my hair out!

Having had a week off from Uni, I’ve been studying more Spanish recently, so I’ll have to try and stick with it when Monday comes.

It’s nice though to be able to switch with the two languages…. I can have a break with Chinese but not feel bad, because I’ll be learning Spanish… I won’t feel lazy because I’m still technically learning!

So I suppose Chinese and Spanish has their own merits and why I like them!

再见

爱玲

One day at a time!

Well semester one of Uni is officially over. Next week we have our exams and then we are finished until September. Unfortunately my character learning has slowed, well it’s actually at a stand still. I don’t know all the characters, but I decided not to stress about it. Theres no point in worrying over something that doesn’t need to be worried about. I’m not exactly under pressure to learn them, only from myself!

So I do my exams, work the next few days, then Ireland! Or in Chinese 爱尔兰 ‘ài ěr lán’ . Ireland pronounced in Mandarin is very similar to the English pronunciation, as are many other countries. The Chinese just pronounce them phonetically. So ‘chocolate’,  ‘bacon’ ‘pizza’ ‘hamburger’ ‘coca cola’ among others sound quite similar to English, check them out and you’ll see!

Packing wise for Ireland, everything is shaping up nicely. We’ve gotten our euro’s, giving us 500euro notes which I was surprised about! But, easier to bring back with me.

I’ve also bought some things from the internet so I have to wait for them to arrive. But apart from that everything is going fine.

I’ve made a list for my Mum to cook us while we are there, and each day, it’s growing longer. I haven’t eaten my Mum’s food in like forever, so I want to make the most of our time at home by indulging her cooking again. God knows when I’ll be back, as I’m going to be broke when I return to China. Working part time does have it’s drawbacks unfortunately.

In China, this weekend there is a festival; The Dragon Boat Festival. I’m not sure what it’s actually about, but I know the Chinese eat these sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. I’ve tasted one last year and it was ok, not amazing, but ok. But I’m guessing there are many varieties so you just have to find out which ones you like.

Usually during Festivals many students cancel, but so far, none of mine have yet to cancel! And I know for a fact one group will be coming on Monday. I’m guessing I’m such a good teacher that they really want to have English class. ha. But if they do cancel, that means I’m loosing out on pay, but then that equals more free time. It’s a catch-22 situation. But, if they choose not to come, I won’t be too disappointed anyway.

So at the moment nothing too exciting is happening. Slowly counting my days until home time; Rafael is fed up of me showing him how many days we have left on my countdown app. I’m sure he can certainly figure it out himself. But, it gets me excited anyway!

The only thing I’m worrying about is the weather. All I want is no rain. Maybe no wind either. I don’t mind if it’s cloudy and no sun, but just no rain. I’m not being too picky! If the sun does come out, then I’ll be extremely happy, but for now, just having the clouds ( and no rain) will do me fine.

再见!

Aisling.

Useful apps when in China.

Whether you are just visiting China, or planning to stay for a little longer, apps are extremely useful. Here are a list which I, and many other people in China use. They will make your stay in China that much more enjoyable. I use these apps through my iPhone, so you may have to check what other phone versions can use these apps.

Baidu

baidu

 

Baidu is the Google/Yahoo/Bing of China. Many Chinese search through this search    engine. Unlike Google, you do not need a VPN to access Baidu.

 

*TIP: To listen to free music, type ‘baidu music’.

 

 

Baidu Maps

baidu maps         An extremely useful app for travelling with. This app allows you to search for a specific bus route where you would like to go. It will show you the bus routes, which buses to take, where they drop you and how long each route will take. It also shows you where in relation you are at that moment in time.  I’m pretty sure there are more functions on it but which I don’t ( and are unable to use)

 

*TIP: Get a Chinese person to help you out with the app at first. It is all in Chinese so get to know the basic layout and then you’re flying.

 

Google Translate

google translate      Before Google was blocked, this was very useful. To use it now however, a VPN is needed. Once you have this it is useful in translating long sentences rather than just words.

 

 

YouKu

youku       Great for procrastinating, this app allows you to watch both TV series and films…. for Free! Yes, Chinese people are lucky enough to enjoy unlimited free music, TV series and films. Simple type in whatever series you want to watch, or look for the icon that shows movies ( a movie reel) where you can watch both Chinese and Western movies.

*TIP: On certain phone types, you can download a film or series to watch later, not needing an internet connection. Unfortunately I could not use this function on my phone.

 

Learn Chinese

LEARN CHINESE APP    I personally find this Chinese language learning app particularly useful. On it, it includes Greetings, General Conversation, Numbers, Time & Date, Directions & Place among other useful things. I decided to buy the whole app, which includes Countries, Family and Dating. It shows you the English and Chinese translation with a clear audio translation. You can also slow down the speech to help you more.

*TIP: This app is good for pronunciation, where you can listen and repeat and achieve more fluency and natural speaking.

 

 

Memrise

MEMRISE     I’m sure anyone who has searched for Mandarin character learning is familiar with this app. The main purpose for this app is to teach  you the Mandarin characters, which are notoriously difficult. Beside each character, it shows you a picture relating to the character, making it easier to remember. Whats more, its free.

*TIP: This app can be used on your phone and also through a computer.

 

memrise man

How Memrise helps you relate the character to the meaning.

Pleco

PLECO      For teaching or for learning Chinese, this app is brilliant. I use this for a lot of my classes. Basically a dictionary, it allows you find vocabulary in English and Chinese. To search for something in Chinese, simply type in the pinyin of the word and all the meanings appear with the Chinese character translation, with a listening element if needed. I personally don’t like this as the voice is computerised and the younger students do not understand it anyway. You can buy it for more functions, but the free version has everything I need.

 

WeChat

wechat     Somewhat like MSN messanger, this app basically allows you to send messages to Chinese and Chinese expats. Almost everyone in China has a WeChat account, meaning it is a must if you decide to live in China. You can look at other peoples page, post pictures and statues on Moments. It also has a function where you can translate a message from Chinese into English. A must if you have Chinese friends that don’t speak English. You can also send a voice message, which the Chinese people I work with love doing.

 

 

 

So these are the apps that I use regularly and those that I feel worthy to write about. All are free, with additional add-ones if you want to pay.

I hope this post helped some people planning on visiting or moving to China.

Aisling.