Try, try again (or, my Achilles heel)

taxi driverI usually don’t have a problem getting around in taxis and having basic conversations in Chinese. Apparently my pronunciation is generally pretty good, even though I sometimes still have problems with differentiating the tones. So I was kind of surprised to find a street name that taxi drivers almost never understand when I tell them. It’s not a small street, and it even has a subway station with the same name. It also happens to be the street that I now live on.

I said the street name over and over again in my head, looked up the tones to make sure I was getting them right, but no matter how much I practised (in my head and out loud), as soon as I say it to a taxi driver, he has no idea what I’m talking about, and I get really flustered. Maybe I’ve just started saying it with a sort of hopeful lift at the end, which is definitely not the tone I’m going for. Even worse, they understand it when my boyfriend clarifies, and he barely speaks two words of Chinese.

I know I’m just going to have to keep at it until I get over the mental block I’ve now put in front of the words, but in the meantime, it’s a bit of a struggle to get home. Maybe I’ll just have to start taking the bus.