Tempus fugit (time flies in Latin) – one of the only things I remember from my language classes in high school. That ancient phrase still holds true today. This year has flown by; 2012 is just about finished. Despite all the hype around the Mayan calendar, we’re still here. Having spent a few weeks in the Mayan Riviera in Mexico to start this year, I have been thinking about what the people there really said about 2012 – it’s really just a new beginning. Tonight, people all around the world will ring in the New Year with resolutions for the next. Some will be kept, while most will be forgotten by March. My resolution is to enjoy what will most likely be my last year living in Beijing to the fullest, and of course to bring you all even better articles and videos in 2013. Either way, at the end of what has been an amazing year for myself and all of us here at Transparent Language, I’d like to go back and highlight some of the best of the best this year. That being said, here are my Top 10 articles and Top 10 videos from this past year:
Top 10 Articles of 2012
10. Western Chinese Cuisine: Chinese food is famous all around the world, and that’s thanks mostly in part to the amazing food of Western China. Learn about the spicy flavors of Sichuan in this post.
9. China’s Five Great Mountains: I climbed Mt. Tai in Shandong province this year, so according to Chinese legend I’ll live to be 100. That inspired me to write this post about the five great mountains of China.
8. Chinese Games: Chinese people love playing games. Learn about some of the most popular games here in this post.
7. Get Your Drink On: Whether it’s coffee and juice in the morning, a cola with lunch, or a few beers with friends, drinks are a big part of our daily lives. As such, learn a bunch of useful vocabulary about drinks and drinking with this post.
6. Chinglish Menu: Chinglish is hilarious, especially when on a menu in a Chinese restaurant. Check out some ridiculous examples from one restaurant in particular in this post.
5. Chinese Power Change: 2012 was a huge year for politics in China. Learn about the huge changing of the guard in the Middle Kingdom.
4. Life in the ‘Jing: Writing anything more than a few sentences long in Chinese is a big challenge for me. I worked hard to write this article all in Chinese about life in Beijing. I hope it helps you learn and talk about where you live.
3. Chinese Music: I love music, so of course this post ranks high on my list. Learn a ton of vocabulary in Chinese related to music and also follow links to plenty of other posts about Chinese instruments and music festival stories.
2. History of the Spring Festival: This post was a lot of fun to write, as I find the Chinese Spring Festival to be a fascinating holiday. It’s the most important festival in China, and it has a very interesting and long history.
1. Chinese Immersion Day: When studying a language, the best way to learn is to really absorb as much as you can. Planning an immersion day in Chinese is a great way to really surround yourself with the language and culture. Luckily, I’ve already done it for you!
Top 10 Videos
10. Chinese Greetings: Learn a bunch of common Chinese greetings in this “how to” video with subtitles.
9. Chengde Summer Mountain Resort: Most people know about the Summer Palace in Beijing, but not many people know about the real summer palace. Located north of Beijing in Hebei province’s Chengde, the Emperor would actually escape the sweltering hot summers of Beijing.
8. My Apartment: Take a tour of my Beijing apartment and learn a bunch of new Chinese vocabulary at the same time!
7. Xi’an City Wall Lantern Festival: We were bummed about not being able to rent bikes when we visited the City Wall in Xi’an, but the spectacular Lantern Festival that was going on more than made up for it.
6. Introduce Yourself in Chinese: Introducing yourself is one of the first things you learn how to do in any language. Get some practice with this easy to follow “how to” video.
5. Cycling and Swimming in Dali, Yunnan: In southwest China’s Yunnan province, Dali is a great place to visit and explore nature. Rent a bike, grab your swimsuit, and head out for a great day here.
4. Longmen Buddhist Grottoes in Luyoang, Henan: Thousands upon thousands of intricate Buddhist statues are carved into caves in Luoyang. Explore this UNESCO site with this video.
3. Jiuzhaigou Tibetan Villages and Culture: Jiuzhaigou is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in China. This national park in Sichuan province is famous for its natural beauty and its Tibetan culture.
2. Hangzhou Impression West Lake: Every night for most of the year, you can take in an incredible performance on the majestic West Lake of Hangzhou. See some highlights here.
1. Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base: It’s no wonder the giant panda is China’s national treasure. See plenty of the world famous, bamboo munching “bear cats” in this video. They were so cute that the video comes in at #1 on my list.
Well that’s it for this year. From myself and everyone else here at Transparent Language, Happy New Year (新年快乐 – xīn nián kuài lè)!