Good for you - I tried learning to speak Chinese back when I was going to China for training, but although the grammar is easy, it made my mouth muscles tired. I remember on my first trip to China, one of the other members of the group criticized my Chinese and was really arrogant about my pronunciation. He was on my case about that, until I came across him in a shop in Suzhou trying to speak Chinese to a sales person. I watched for a while, he wasn't having any luck being understood. I asked him what the problem was and he said he was trying to find out how much a sword cost. I said to the salesman (in English) "how much is the sword?" and the salesman said (in English) "Ten dollars." I didn't laugh in his face, but I laughed plenty later on and he stopped criticizing my attempts at Chinese.
This feather may look worthless, ...
You have imparted to this thread something totally unexpected by me: first-hand knowledge of the people and their formidable culture. Thank you so much!
The movie was intense, but I didn't understand the basis for that intensity prior to your "revelations." New light ...
"The sword is ten dollars." [uttered in crisp and impeccable English.]
Funny thing: Pearl Buck was mentioned. Dragon Lady went to "English School" @ 10 years old, first in her family. Singapore decided that English would be their official language. 3 or 4 trips ago, I read in the Strait Times that Chinese was being dropped as a requirement for the ethnic Chinese. Singapore has 4 ethnic groups: Chinese, Malaysians, Indians and a few remaining British.
The teacher gave her her English name, from the Bible. Required reading was The Good Earth!!!
And like Hortensia, I read such books on the trips sometimes. 16 hours, one way, of flight is plenty to make a dint in most books.
I read JLC a few years ago. A bit over the top at times (I guess a lot of fiction is by necessity), but a good look into the ideas of one ABC on her culture.
I have also been to China. To be honest, it didn't make the best impression on me of all the countries I've been to. But it was definitely an experience.