Chinese tongue-twisters

In my last post I introduced THIRTY common words all pronounced “shi”. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that with so many homophones, Mandarin has some fantastic tongue-twisters. And by “fantastic” I mean “utterly impossible to recite”.


A whole lot of shi

Today I’m going to introduce you to words pronounced “shi” – a great example of the wonderful confusion that is homophones in Mandarin. There are TWO HUNDRED characters for the sound “shi”and I use at least 30 of them. They are split up between different tones, but still that’s a whole lot of shi.


Learning to love Canberra

My family moved from Sydney to Canberra in early 1991, when I was eight years old. I never quite got over my Sydney snobbery, and made jokes at Canberra’s expense. That said, I have learned to appreciate Canberra – especially its beautiful parks and weather.

I get so excited by "real" Chinese food that I don't think to take a photo until the food is gone! So you'll just have to trust me that those cleaned up dishes once held 椒盐豆腐 and 干扁豆角 and 松鼠鱼 and 豆苗 and more...

A year away from China

A year ago today I said goodbye to China. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s been so long! I still feel connected to China and leap at any opportunity to talk about China. Here are some things I miss about Beijing, but ALSO things I am loving about Sydney. It’s important to acknowledge what I’ve lost while also appreciating what I’ve gained.

Beautiful pavilions in Yu Gardens. Top row: 1983, 2004; Centre row: 1983, 2004, 2012; Bottom row: 1983, 2012.

Shanghai’s famous Yu Gardens

The Yu Gardens, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Shanghai, were built nearly 450 years ago. I visited three times between 1999 and 2012; my parents also went in March 1983. I very much enjoyed Yu Yuan – there is so much to find and see and take in. It is a lovely, peaceful place with lots of history.