If you’re going to San Francisco…

Shopkeeper Stories
“…. be sure to wear some flowers in your hair!”

We communicated using fragments of Mandarin that I know consisting mostly of 3 introductory sentences:

“How are you?” (Ni hao!)

“I speak a little!” (We hui shuo yidian dian)

“I am a Singapore person.” (Wo shi xinjiapo ren)

And then, in response to almost everything in the conversation: “Sorry, I cannot speak Chinese!” (Duipuqi, wo bu keyi jiang huayi.)
Nonetheless, we managed a joyful conversation. When I asked whether she had an email address to send her photos, she broke out in a hearty laugh and shook her head. “Email?!” she asked incredulously, and laughed again. I took that as a no!
She pulled out a folded sheet of paper written in English that said: “I am seventy years old and came to America 4 years ago. I support myself.” — at San Francisco, CA
Shopkeeper Stories

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