This is Brandon.  Brandon is a smart but silly boy.

Every Saturday morning Brandon’s mom takes him to Chinese school (zhong wen xue xiao – 中文學校) for three hours.  Brandon does not want to go to Chinese school and tells his parents, “Wo bu yao shang zhong wen xue xiao (我不要上中文學校)!”, which means, “I don’t want to go to Chinese school!”  Brandon attempts a stern and serious look which he hopes will convince his parents to let him skip Chinese school.  However, the look Brandon is desperately trying to convey comes across as more funny-looking than serious.

Brandon’s parents try their best not to laugh and simply ask, “Why – wei shen ma (為什麼)?”  Brandon thinks about this for a while and then says, “Because none of my friends from regular school have to go.  It’s not fair.  And it’s not fun.”  “Well,” says Mommy, “all kids do different activities and learn different things at different times.  And wouldn’t it be nice to be able to speak to your relatives in China and Taiwan when we go to visit?”  “I guess,” responded Brandon, but he wasn’t convinced.  “Also, when you are out with your cousins or friends from Chinese school, speaking in Chinese with each other would be like speaking a secret language since hardly anyone else would understand you here!”  Brandon would not admit he thought that was cool, but he smiled a little.  Then Daddy winked and said, “That’s true.  I wouldn’t understand anything you say,” which made Brandon smile even bigger.  “Also,” Daddy added, if you learn Chinese well, someday you can be our tour guide when we travel to China and pick all the places you want to visit!”  Brandon liked that idea!

“Are you ready to go to Chinese school now?” asked Mommy.  Brandon still was not convinced but he begrudgingly said, “OK – hao (好).”

When they arrived at school, Brandon walked to his class and said good morning to his teacher, “Lao shi zao (老師早).”  Lao shi (老師) means teacher in Chinese. Brandon then sat down between his friends, Logan and Emma.  They immediately started chatting and giggling before class started.  So far, Chinese school was off to a good start!

Once class started, Brandon and his friends played games which tested the new words they learned the previous week and sang songs and prepared speeches about themselves.  Brandon got up and told the class his name and a little about his family.  “Wo de ming zi jiao Brandon (我的名字叫 Brandon)” – My name is Brandon.  “Wo jia you san kou ren – ba ba, ma ma hai you wo (我家有三口人-爸爸,媽媽還有我)” – There are three people in my family – Daddy, Mommy and me.  Brandon loved getting up and talking about himself!

During recess, Brandon and his friends ate and shared their snacks and talked about video games.  They also got to watch a short Chinese cartoon video which was very funny!  “Ha ha!  Hen hao xiao (哈哈很好笑)!” –  Very funny!

After recess, Brandon and his class did some calligraphy and wrote Chinese numbers and their names on thin rice paper with special brushes called mao bi (毛筆).  Brandon was very proud of his work and was looking forward to showing Mommy and Daddy his masterpiece.  He hoped they would hang it on the refrigerator with his other masterpieces.

Brandon and his class also learned about the Chinese yo-yo.  Every student had a chance to play with it.  When it was Brandon’s turn, Lao Shi (老師) watched and exclaimed, “Wa!  Zhen bung (真棒)!” – Awesome!  Brandon loved the Chinese yo-yo!  And he was a natural at it!

Finally, school was over and the parents all came by to pick up their children.  Brandon couldn’t believe three hours had passed so quickly!  He said “zai jian (再見)– good bye” to his friends and Lao Shi (老師), and excitedly showed Mommy his calligraphy.  Mommy was impressed and told Brandon his writing was great – “Wa!  Ni xie de zhi xie de hen hao (哇你寫的字寫得很好)!”  Brandon beamed and skipped all the way to the car.

On the ride home, Brandon told Mommy all about his morning at Chinese school.  Mommy said, “Wow, sounds like you had fun in school today!  Did you?”  Brandon giggled and said, “Yes, I had fun!  Hen hao wan (很好玩)!”  Mommy smiled and was relieved to hear that!  She hoped that Brandon would remember this feeling and not complain about going to Chinese school anymore.

When they got home, Brandon showed Daddy his calligraphy and Daddy was so impressed that he immediately hung it on the refrigerator without Brandon even asking!  Brandon was so happy!  Mommy and Daddy looked at each other and hoped that Brandon would look forward to going to Chinese school the next week.

The next week, Brandon did not want to go to Chinese school!  “Wo bu yao shang zhong wen xue xiao (我不要上中文學校)!”  “Ai ya!” cried Mommy, “But you had so much fun last week!”  Brandon did not seem to remember.  But they went anyway and again Brandon had fun!

What a smart but silly boy!