Kāfēi by Bridget Coila

Here’s a list of words I recently came across while flipping through the first few chapters of Teach Yourself Chinese and Chinese Made Easy:

  • pen 筆
  • Beijing University 北京大學
  • garage 車庫
  • curtains 窗簾
  • duck’s tongue 鴨舌
  • faucet 水龍頭
  • bloody nose 流鼻血
  • school bus 娃娃車

You’ve got to give the producers credit for displaying originality. But due to their creative outbursts they seem to have forgotten about usability completely. Unfortunately this is a common tragedy that befalls most textbooks. If you want to speed up your progress, the job is yours in the end to sift through the bullshit and pick what’s worth learning. (Unfortunately schools don’t allow this kind of freedom.)
Read more

Chinese Fast Food and a Book

I’ve had a complicated relationship with Chinese languages. I learned my first Mandarin words 15 years ago when I was in junior high school. I managed to remember a number of words and expressions but never really got to any point where I could say I was actually studying the language.

Then came Cantonese. I was enamored by Jet Li’s early kung fu flicks as a teenager (which also kindled my interest in Chinese kung fu), so I naturally started picking up words from movies like Shaolin Temple and Fong Sai Yuk. But as with Mandarin, I didn’t progress much.
Read more

Camel Driver

I used to think that packing five novels, a flashlight, two bottles of deodorant, and a pillow would come in handy when I’m on the road. But that’s actually something you should only do when switching apartments.

I’ve been using my current travel checklist religiously for the past three years, and I’ve never had the need to add anything to it. Don’t let the length of your journey encourage to pack more. I’ve battle-tested this checklist when I was traveling in Europe for two months and every subsequent trip (each spanning over at least three weeks), and it has never failed.

Take a look. I’ve bolded the items that should be worn on your person.
Read more


Why do people choose to go to college?

I’ll start by answering the question myself. I went to college because I wanted to learn how to create better websites. I’ve had a background in web development since elementary school, but I used to believe that going to university was the best (and only way?) to become a qualified professional in the field. I at least thought you needed some kind of degree in web development if you wanted to get a job in the field.
Read more