Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Lost In Translation No more!

I forgot to mention one other thing that happened last night...we found out the translation of the word "clever."

When Maggie was handed to us in China, the nannies sought me out after the hand off and told me Maggie was very "clever." I've always wondered if the word they chose translated to the meaning of the word 'clever' in our language. To me, 'clever' means smart, in a pragmatic way, Sort of creative and practical, very ingenuous, with a bit of mischief. That meaning actually fits Maggie, but I always marveled how the nannies could tell she was 'clever' when she was only an infant.

Last night I took my annual scrapbook page for the orphanage to be translated. On Maggie's page, I used the word "clever." (For those new to Chinese adoption, many orphanage groups send annual scrapbooks back to China for the caretakers. We always participate.) I thought the word might help the nannies remember her. As the women who were translating my pages got to the word 'clever', a fierce discussion broke began. Actually it sounded like a debate. It was in Chinese so I had no idea what they were saying. Finally, the woman who was actually writing the translations for me explained that clever had two meanings:

"In Chinese, 'clever' means smart, but written a different way it can mean something else. It means smart with her hands."

I just about fell over. Why? Maggie has always had a knack for art. At her eighteen month doctor visit, when she was coloring and using stickers, the pediatrician was stunned. Her preschool teacher remarks she's only seen two other kids like her in 25 years of teaching, because she draws and colors these really amazing, detail-oriented pictures. Not to brag, but the kid is good with her hands.

For the first time, we figured out what the nannies were trying to tell me: As an infant, Maggie was good with her hands. Needless to say, I told the translators to stick with the second meaning of the word, not the first. Now I'm sure the nannies will get my message. And with a two plus year delay, I finally heard theirs.

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2 Comments:

  • At 7:24 PM , Blogger Donna said...

    That's awesome! I think you need to showcase some of her art! :)

    Donna

     
  • At 7:42 PM , Blogger Milinda, Edward & Maggie ChenChen said...

    Julie, that is such a great story! And I second Donna's request for a post of Maggie's art!

    Do you have a magnet school for the arts nearby?

    :)
    Milinda

    PS We missed you at the BTNY party this weekend!

     

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