Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Terrible Handwriting

Since about fifth grade, I've had nice handwriting. I made an effort that year to make my writing look better and since then, I receive many compliments whenever people see my writing. I'm not telling you this so you also compliment my writing or something. For the purposes of this story, I have to establish that my handwriting is nice.

However, comma, it turns out that my nice handwriting does not carry over to Chinese. The other day I had to show my wife where I'd written our address in characters for her. She laughed and said, "It's fun to see you have messy Chinese handwriting."

The problem is, of course, that I have no idea how to write anything, so I'm constantly looking back and forth while I copy random line segments. Ideally, when I get around to knowing what I'm doing (assuming that ever happens), it will look nicer.

The times that I've had to show my Chinese writing to Chinese people, they have complimented me, but they've also laughed. A lot. Most recently, when I turned in a restaurant order with a handwritten request for "cold water" (which they honored with hot water, then tried to serve us beer, before finally bringing us iced tea, but not cold water), the waitress kept my handwriting sample at the register and showed it to all her coworkers when they walked past. Everyone had a good laugh that day. Except my wife and I, who had to drink hot water.


Nancy said...

It's not even that your Chinese handwriting is messy... it's just messy for you. It's cute.

Alanna said...

I don't think that looks too bad, but I'm a foreigner, too, so my opinion counts for very little here. If you want to improve it, I'd recommend finding a calligraphy book for Chinese characters. In Japan (and their kanji is all stolen from the Chinese, so I'm guessing the same rules apply), stroke order and the direction you draw each stroke matters a LOT-- books designed to teach children how to draw them will help a lot!