In preparation for my journey to China, my supervisor, Su-Lin, eagerly instructs me on various Mandarin phrases. Having learned small portions of a Cantonese dialect, my knowledge of Mandarin is limited.
“Brooke, how do you say ‘Hello’?” Su-Lin, my draper, asks.
“Ni Hao,” I reply.
“How do you say ‘My name is Brooke’?” Su-Lin says.
I pull out the only phrase in Mandarin I know: “Pang Yee Tah Mah, Brooke,” I respond with a smile. Su-Lin laughs at my response, which translates to: “Can I have it cheaper, Brooke.”
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