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The Testimonials of ★MandarinGarden☆
Posted by: Mandaringarden (IP Logged)
Date: March 19, 2013 01:57AM
In autumn, Shanghai gets cold quickly. The northern wind pushes all the fallen leaves around, as it passes through every corner of this city, whereas heavy clouds often cover the skyline. Every sudden drizzle brings the winter chill closer to your bones. The scene is as if nostalgia is flowing in the air. Nevertheless, all the winter cold disappeared as our reporter stepped into Mandarin Garden School to meet with Kevin - who happily shared with us his journey in China.
Kevin is a new resident in Jinqiao who moved to this area in August last year. Although it is only 6 months, he already likes this place very much. When asked about his view of Jinqiao, Kevin smiled and said: "The development of this area is well organized, like the arrangement of the roads and buildings. The infrastructure is good. It is great. I have been in Beijing and a few other cities, but I like Shanghai the best. There are many Metro lines in Shanghai and getting from point A to point B is relatively easy." Kevin talked with frankness. His words went straight to the point, offering true opinions with little euphemism.
Kevin's wife is Chinese; their story can be traced back to when they were studying for their MBAs in America. "We went to different schools but met when we were in the same internship program over our summer break," speaking of his wife, Kevin smiled happily, "We got to know each other during our internship and stayed in touch while we each completed our individual programs. Looking back, maybe I was doing that internship just to meet her. She is the best reward of my MBA course." Kevin laughed out with joy. "Back then, language was my strong point. As my wife would be in certain personal or business situations, I would receive emails or quick calls asking what does this word/phrase mean." As those sweet memories flowing out, a string of sunshine landed on Kevin's face, bringing a golden shine not only to him but also to his story. "After 10 years of marriage and being the couple's 'translator', the roles have changed," with a smile, Kevin continued, "now, it is me who is in a new country and needing the help asking her how to say this and what is the meaning of that? And she will patiently sit with me to explain everything to me. This is a very interesting experience."
To Kevin, learning Chinese is a great challenge. Coming to Mandarin Garden made Kevin realize that many bits and pieces of Chinese he picked up previously are less correct than he thought. Chinese is such a rich and diverse language that Kevin has to learn new materials as well break some bad habits picked up while in theUnited States.
"Teachers in Mandarin Garden are strict, but they are really helpful. My teacher was very helpful in leveraging what I already knew as well as focusing on parts of Chinese that I needed to correct". Kevin talked with a smile. Kevin provided the following analogy to learning Chinese. "Learning Chinese is like trying to watch the stars in a big city at night. If you are not moving away from the lights and the buildings, you only see a small part of the sky. You have to move away from the city to fully enjoy the beauty of the stars. As you do so, the lights and haze of the city slowly disappear and the rich beauty of the sky reveals itself. To fully enjoy the view, one most stay on the journey. To me, I decided to start the journey when I moved to Shanghai. For now, I feel I just got started n my own trip out of the city. For what little I have traveled, I have seen enough to know so much more lies ahead. In short, it is going to be a fun and interesting trip for me and the family".
The teaching in Mandarin Garden is very practical: what you learn is what you can use. Kevin admits that he could have had much more trouble in speaking Chinese if it is not because of the skills and knowledge he learnt from Mandarin Garden. On many occasions, the pronunciation of each Chinese word has to be perfect, or it can bring misunderstanding -some are more serious than others. Once, Kevin needed a mouse trap to take care of a little problem at home. In preparing what he was going to say to the clerk, Kevin realized he better get the pronunciation correct or there could be a big misunderstanding. A slight difference could have led to a huge shift in the meaning.
Kevin has two kids: a 9-year old boy, and a 5-year old girl. Both of them are studying Chinese in Mandarin Garden. Although the international school they attend offers Chinese course, Kevin and his wife prefer more Chinese learning for his kids, because this will help them to merge into Chinese culture quicker. Having the whole family learning Chinese together is also a fun experience. Kevin's son progressed very fast, surpassing Kevin already. His daughter is also progressing quickly regardless of her younger age. Once talking about his skids, Kevin smiled brightly.
Moving to such a faraway country seemed to be risky at first glance but Kevin has faith in this land. "There are many opportunities inChina, as well as challenges. And I enjoy challenges," said Kevin, "learning Chinese is a challenge, looking for new job is also a challenge. But I'm excited about all these things." Living in China, many things also gave Kevin a completely new feeling.
For instance, Kevin is very touched by the strong family bond in Chinese families. This is very different from his family in America. Kevin explains, "My family wants you to treat their home like your own. This means helping yourself to a drink in the refrigerator or grabbing something to eat in the pantry. Not all Americans are like this, but it is the way with my family. For my wife, this seemed very strange and bit uncomfortable to her." It wasn't until Kevin visited China a few times did he fully understand her feeling. "Whether we visited an old friend from school, a cousin we haven't seen in years or an uncle inBeijing, each visit was a big event. In each visit, you are treated like royalty. It is wonderful. InChina, the bond between family members is deep and strong." The love and care between Chinese family members became a precious experience of Kevin.
Learning Chinese is just the first step of Kevin's journey in China. This land is filled with opportunities and challenges, which attract Kevin deeply. He is planning to master the language quickly, and climb the next peak in his career and life.

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