New dresses (which I don't need to know the Mandarin for)
My mom sent G. and L. a couple of new dresses, so that requires some pictures of them modelling their new duds. Here is the first installment. I love these knit dresses... I'm pretty sure this is what they will wear on Christmas. G. is on the left and L. is on the right. L. is looking a bit forlorn in the first two because we took the book she wanted to hold away from her. (Mean parents! Can you imagine?) Realizing this wasn't going to work, we gave the book back for the next four.
There should be a couple more twin posts coming up... I finished new dresses for them last night and we still have to take pictures in the other dresses my mom sent. That should keep some of you very happy.
We are still waiting for our LOA, but I have decided to be proactive and not just sit around and mope. Yesterday I printed and filled-out our I-800 application to apply for H.'s visa, which we can do once we receive the LOA. So it is now ready to go the moment we are free to send it in. I also have a copy of the Mandarin version of Simple Language for Adoptive Families. This looks really great. It has words and phrases that are particularly useful for the unique situation in which adoptive families find themselves. Plus, it has a CD which has all the phrases pronounced. It doesn't come in Vietnamese, but it would have been really useful if it had. For instance, what regular tourist phrase book is going to contain phrases such as, "We are happy to be your family!" or "I am your Mommy." or the really useful ones such as, "Please don't go potty in your pants." or "Please don't bite." or "That's dangerous."?
I will begin to study it and delude myself that if I listen to the CD enough times that I will be vaguely understandable. After all, Mandarin only has four tones where Vietnamese has 6. Perhaps by dropping two tones I have a chance. My illusions that I could learn Vietnamese at the age of 40 were dashed when I had this conversation with a Vietnamese graduate student who was attending the university in our city. He was helping me with pronunciation and the conversation went like this:
Me: Sua [sua is the Vietnamese word for milk]
Tuan: No, no, it's sua.
Tuan: No, no it's sua
What he was saying sounded exactly like what I was saying... to me. I could hear no difference at all. Every so often I would get the tone right and he would be very happy. The trouble was, I had no idea what I did differently that time from all the rest. It also explains why every time I would order milk (or sua) for TM in Vietnam, we were never sure what we would get. Sometimes it was milk, sometimes it was a completely different beverage, and sometimes the waiter or waitress would smile as if they knew what we were saying and then bring us nothing.
All this to say, you'll have to forgive me if I am not 100% convinced that listening to my new Mandarin phrase CD is going to make a lick of difference. At the very least I will be able to add to my collection of languages I can count to 10 in. Not a useful skill, but it amuses the children.