This evening, by a wonderful unfolding of events, I ended up having tea with my best friend’s little sister. As my best friend’s little sister, she holds a sweet spot in my heart. What’s more, the fact that she’s the first person I’ve seen go from little kid, singing nursery-rhyme-type songs, to a mature young adult (and soon full-blown adult), makes that spot even sweeter.
As we sat in the tapioca teahouse, drinking our warm (Taiwanese style, I think – at least, that’s what a friend of mine saw constantly while in Taiwan, and which we haven’t seen much elsewhere) bubble tea, our attention somehow turned to the menu on the wall. Naturally, we hadn’t thought anything special of it when we actually were looking at the menu to order earlier on, but it was suddenly relevant to our conversation, so our attention turned to it. She is studying Mandarin this year (since August), and I’ve just moved here from Japan. So, we have some common ground on understanding Chinese characters. (For those who don’t know, Japanese kind of stole the characters from Chinese, and adapted them a bit, so loads of them look exactly or almost exactly the same and have the same or very similar meanings.)
We joyfully pointed out that “ice” was on the end of each name in the ‘Snowy Drink’ category, and that “little” was next to one other character on the “Snacks” sections – likely ‘little meal’ or ‘little food’. Something like that. And then we discussed how we were scouring the menu, picking out little pieces that we understood. It was like a fun little puzzle that we were putting together, piece by piece… one that we know will take months, even years, but the timing of which doesn’t seem to bother us in the slightest. We’re just excited that we’re able to make the little sense of it all that we already can. And we aren’t even using the same language to do it, technically, making it simultaneously that much sillier and that much more awesome.
So, we got to enjoy one another’s company and be nerdy language-lovers together, while sipping warm asian versions of English tea (Earl Grey) on a cold, cold night (for Houston, anyway). Blessings abound when open our minds and schedules to them, it seems. And I am grateful for this one in particular. 🙂