One Thousand Blood Sweat Words

March 3, 2008 / Daily Life / 26 Comments

Disclaimer: This entry is my first entry written in Chinese. The English translation is kinda awkward and contrived, akin to a second-language English speaker. It’s because I wrote the entry in Chinese first, then translated it back to English. I purposefully did so to show non-Chinese speakers the level of my Chinese. And yes, that means my Chinese is awkward and unnatural. But you know, effort must count for something! 😉


大多数的人每天都在拼命地赚血汗钱,我这三天来在拼命地写一千两百的血汗字。我学汉语才学了三年, 认的汉字也不多 - 最多有3000吧。对我来说,写文章是一个非常痛苦的事。英语的文章就够痛苦了,现在还要写中文的文章。真是很麻烦。每个句子都要用到没学过的字。即使我现在在抱怨,但我很高兴在三年来能写出那么长那么复杂的文章。三年前,我只能认“陈爱薇”这三个字 。别的字一个也认不出,甚至于“名字”这两个字也不认识。现在,写了1200字的文章给我一个成就感。虽然认识的字比中国人还少,口音还想老外那样,这1200的血汗字表示我这三年来的痛苦,这三年来的承诺。由于这1200的血汗字,我会继续学汉语…直到能流利地讲,写,听,读汉语的那一天。

English Translation

While most people spend their lives toiling over blood-sweat (hard-earned) money, I spent these three days slogging over 1,200 blood-sweat Chinese words. I’ve only learned Chinese for three years; I still can’t read much Chinese – probably only about a maximum of 3000 words.

Writing essays have always been a pain to me. It’s already quite the pain to write essays in English, now I have to write an essay in Chinese. Jeez. I have to check the dictionary every sentence because there are so many words that I haven’t learned. Although I’m complaining right now, I’m actually quite happy that I managed to write such a long and complex paper.

Three years ago, I was only able to write three words: Chen Ai Wei (my Chinese name). I couldn’t read any other words; not even the word “name”! So writing a 1,200-word essay today has left me with a feeling of accomplishment. And although I still don’t read as many words as mainland Chinese and my accent still sounds like a white man speaking Chinese, this 1,200 blood-sweat words symbolizes my three years of pain and effort.

So with this 1,200 blood-sweat words, I will continue to learn Chinese…until the day I can speak, write, understand and read Chinese fluently.

  • Omg how do you do it? Chinese is the most complicated language ever.. I failed gr. 2 Chinese school!!

    Anyway, I have a HUGE arse too!! I find Rock and Republics make your bum look reallyyy nice because it doesn’t let it sag. LOL. Beyonce’s line of jeans are also made for women with a bigger booty!

  • k

    hahaha cool!!

    though i gave up reading halfway because just looking at chinese characters give me a headache! and i read chinese slower than i read korean, so…. >.<

    good effort though! ^^

  • Pretty impressive for 3 years! My parents forced me to go to Chinese School until I was in 6th grade, I was one year from graduating too. I can speak pretty fluently since my grandparents and a lot of my uncles and aunts only speak Chinese, I can’t read or write as well as I speak though.

  • Hey Ivy, that’s some really amazing progress you’ve made in a mere three years! Chinese is indeed one of the harder languages to learn, to read and *gasp* to write (especially when it comes to the strokes of each letter, there are so many rules to follow!)… I applaud your effort to learn it! I know foreign friends who’ve taken Chinese language courses and given up halfway through because it was way too taxing and tiring.

    And learning how to compose a paragraph in Chinese is no easy job either! Seriously, you have the talent Ivy 🙂 I just realised that your Chinese name is the exact translation of “Ivy” 🙂 I have a friend called Maple Soo, and her chinese name is “mei bao”.

    There are about 5000~6000 chinese characters, learning how to write 3000 of them is awesome! Anyway I bet more than half of the words are not regularly used.

    Keep it up!!! 😀

  • I’m impressed. From what I hear Chinese is a very complicated language to learn and master. You’re on the right track, congrats for making it this far with your essay! 😀

  • Hey, do Korean next time… heh. 😉

  • Wow, that is awesome. I can’t read much of Vietnamese either, and I can’t even write in it! So you’re better than me! Lucky you! I’d love to learn how to read and write in Vietnamese, but I don’t know when that’d happen…

  • Id

    I think the only one I got was the full stop. HAHAHA!

    Apparently I didn’t learn shit when I had Chinese tutoring for two months.

  • 太厉害了!


  • 很棒啊!

  • Very nice, keep it up, =) It’s great to see another person who manage to learn and know how to speak/write chinese. =)

    Jia You! =p

  • Sounds like you’ve done great job learning Chinese. Isn’t it even one of the hardest languages to learn? Or so I have heard. 🙂

  • Wow… definitely a great achievement… normally someone would have given up before a year’s end already. Good for you!!
    I greatly want to learn chinese as well, but I’m glad I still know how to read and write in vietnamese.

  • Wow, it’s truly amazing! 祝贺你!
    No wrong character, no grammar mistakes, I really really wish I could be at same level as you write in Chinese. So many non-Chinese speakers/learners give it up finally on this loooong journey.

  • BRAVO!!!!!

    This makes me want to actually go an learn French so that I don’t look silly when my family is around me. They speak English most of the time, but I want to know the secrets they say in French! *wink wink* But you’re such an inspiration. And this really is an accomplishment, Congratulations!! If I was your Chinese Instructor I would give you full points for being equally awesome and hard working!

  • that is bloody amazing >_<

  • Mig

    Dear Ivy,

    to show you how much we appreciate all you’ve done for us so far, and how happy we are to host a site of the quality Nanyate has, I have prepared for you a little surprise – I hope you will enjoy it.


  • good job! keep it up!

    it’s easy to be disheartened when tackling new challenges. but keep practicing, and you’ll be a master before you know it!!

  • 哇, 我羨慕你… 加油!

  • Ivy Wang

    that’s pretty good. I have also learned Chinese for three years. What a coincidence that we have the same names! My Chinese name is Wáng ài weí but the Wei is the one meaning health

  • Ivy

    @Ivy Wang: Cool! My mum’s maiden name is actually Wang too. Hahaha.