These days Chinese is my 2nd language, but back in high school I was a Latin scholar. Of course, there are only a few Latin phrases that I remember to this day, one of which being “tempus fugit,” or “time flies” in English. This phrase is a little longer and more complicated in Chinese - 时间过得真快 (shí jiān guò de zhēn kuài) – but oh how time has flown by here. Looking back on old posts, I just realized that I’ve been a member of the Transparent Chinese team for two years as of this month. It’s been an incredible experience sharing my travel stories, language tips, and cultural insights with our many dedicated readers over that time, and I’d like to take this opportunity to say “Thank you very much” (非常感谢你们 – fēi cháng gǎn xiè nǐ men) to all of our readers all over the world! I have thoroughly enjoyed writing articles and making videos to help you all learn a little bit of Chinese language, and more importantly, get a glimpse into life here in the Middle Kingdom by discussing the food, holidays, music, history, and much more. To celebrate two wonderful years here and look forward to many more, here are some of my favorite articles and videos from the past 24 months:
Poor Man’s Chinese - Where it all began – my very first post to the Chinese blog back in July 2010.
Travel: Qingdao Beer Festival - What happens when a couple of 外国人 venture out to a Chinese beer festival equipped with very little Chinese and too much booze? Hilarity, of course!
Camping on the Great Wall - Most tourists get sucked into going to one of the over-developed sections of the Great Wall, packed full of other travelers and pesky vendors. Escape from that nonsense with an overnight stay on the scenic Jinshanling (金山岭长城) section of the Wall.
Yangshuo – I’ve traveled to many places in China, but Yangshuo (阳朔) is by far my favorite. From the natural beauty of the karst mountains, to the famed Li River scenery that inspired the back of the 20 yuan note, this place really is heaven on earth.
Traditions and Superstitions of the Spring Festival - China is a country full of ancient traditions and superstitions, and nowhere is this more obvious than during the annual Spring Festival, the country’s longest and most important holiday.
Mid-Autumn Festival – This fall harvest festival has an incredibly interesting back story. Grab a moon cake, kick back, and learn about this traditional Chinese holiday.
Single’s Day - While it’s neither a traditional festival nor an actual holiday, per se, 11/11 tells you a lot about modern China and how this ancient country is changing.
Celebrate the birthday of modern China on National Holiday by paying a visit to Tiananmen Square.
Our most popular video, this one introduces the Qi Xi Festival, or Chinese Valentine’s Day as it’s also known.
History of the PRC from the Last Emperor to Mao - A while back, I did an extensive series on the history of China from the very last Emperor up until the founding of the PRC with Mao Zedong. All posts about this turbulent time in China’s history can be found through this link.
Cultural Quirks - Why is it bad for guys to wear a green hat in China? Why is the number 250 considered an insult? Find out here.
Chinese Swear Words - Everybody loves learning bad words in a new language! Well, here are a bunch in Chinese to keep you busy.
Very Superstitious – Stevie Wonder may have written this song about China, as the country’s many superstitious extend well past the Spring Festival.
Visiting temples is a big part of Chinese culture, so take a trip to the Lama Temple and Confucius Temple in Beijing.
See how people in China let loose and have fun in the summer months.
Common Dishes – Think that General Tso’s chicken, egg rolls, and fortune cookies are real Chinese food? Think again!
Restaurant Lingo - If you want to eat Chinese food in a real Chinese restaurant, you’ll need to know how to order it. Thankfully, I’ve got you covered.
Northern Chinese Cuisine - The first in a series about China’s Great Culinary Traditions, this post will give you a glimpse into the cuisine of the northern part of the country.
Join in on a class to learn how to make Chinese dumplings.
There’s no better way to stay warm in winter than Old Beijing hot pot!
What’s in a Chinese Character? (Vol. 1) - Chinese is composed of thousands upon thousands of intricate characters. So, what exactly do they mean and where did they come from? We begin our investigation with this first post.
Chinese Idioms (Vol. 6) - In an ongoing series, we examine some commonly used Chinese idioms, including the famous “horse horse tiger tiger.”
Staying in Tone – It’s not only the characters that give foreigners trouble when studying Chinese; the tones also prove to be a big obstacle. Get the basics down here.
There aren’t direct translations of “yes” and “no” in Chinese, so learn how to get around that.
Master pronouns and the verb “to be” in this easy to follow video.
Well that should keep you busy for a while. Here’s to hoping that the next two years are as good as the last two! Thanks again to all of our readers – without you and your support, we wouldn’t have anything at all! As always, we value your comments, questions and feedback. Keep up with us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and of course right here. Aside from the social media, we’ve got plenty more resources to help you learn Chinese. As one of my old Chinese teachers told me, “Listen more, speak more, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!” (多听多说，不怕出错 – duō tīng duō shuō, bú pà chū cuò).