After living in another culture for about, oh, say almost 4 years, Jeff and I were talking about how some words will never leave us.  Here’s a compilation we came up with:

1.  Lihai (lee-hi)  – small word, big meaning.  Jeff thinks the best translation is crunk.  Can be used in a positive or negative way.  For example – “wow, that woman is lihai!” (meaning: wow, she is really yelling at the guy.  And in public.  Awkward.)  Or – “Ah, your baby is so lihai!” (meaning: your baby is so awesome that she can already walk at 10 months old!  Way to go!)

2.  Mafan (this one sounds like it looks) – trouble (with a capital T).   Use in everyday life – “Oh, I don’t know.  Do I really want to go through the mafan of filling out all of that paperwork?”  How we hear it here – “Tai mafan le!” – literally, “too much trouble!”

3. Bu yao langfei (boo yow lang fey) – don’t waste.  This one is great for use when you’re eating with friends and there is a little bit still left on the table.  Just say, “hey, bu yao langfei!” and they’ll feel obligated to eat the last bite.  🙂  The culture here is serious about not wasting anything, so we hear this one quite regularly.

4.  Shufu (shoe foo) – comfortable.  Fun word to say all around.  Shooooo-fuuuu.  Use – “Wow, this bed is really shufu!  Hard to believe we’re in a hostel.”

5. Mamahuhu (this one also sounds like it looks) – so-so.  Another fun one just to say.  Literal meaning is horse-horse-tiger-tiger.  Why the word for “so-so” means horse-horse-tiger-tiger I have no idea.  Use – “Ah, this food is mamahuhu”.  Meaning – I kinda wish I was eating something else.

Until next time…


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