May 30, 2006

I've been learning about poets lately. Not by choice, but because I've been assigned to help out in an eighth grade English class at school. The eighth graders are hopeless. 85% of them are getting F's in English, and probably just as much are failing math.

I've decided that other than Maya Angelou and Edgar Allan Poe, many of the supposedly great poets just wrote a bunch of crap. Reading some of their works is painfully boring for me. Some of the works were clearly done under the influences of drugs, so maybe I need to get high to truly appreciate it.

Today a student was doing a presentation on a Japanese poet. Her poster had a few phrases in Japanese, which shares a few common characters with the Chinese language. So in my boredom, I decided to see how many Chinese words I could still remember how to write. (Many years ago, my parents sent us to Chinese school, where among many things, we learned about Chinese poets.) My list of random words wasn't too bad, but I know my written Chinese vocabulary should be much greater. There were some characters that I could write, but forgot what they meant.

I don't even speak very much Cantonese these days. Only when talking with my family in San Francisco and at Chinese restuarants that don't have numbered menus.
I'm going to study my languages a little more. My ultimate goal would be to translate conversations from Cantonese into Spanish. Then I can go to taquerias in China and order Chinese take out in Mexico.

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