We all have things we’d rather do. Some people think it strange that
(bi3 qi3) (kan4) (dian4 shi4), (wo3) (ning2 ke3) (xue2) (zhong1 wen2)
(compare to) (watch) (television), (I) (prefer, rather) (learn) (Chinese).
I would rather study Chinese than watch TV.
Really 真的 (zhen1 de.),
(比起)(看)(電視)， (我)(寧可)(做)(很多)(其他的)(事情)，(讓)(我)(覺得)(更)(放鬆)。❶ (see notes below)
(bi3 qi3) (kan4) (dian4 shi4), (wo3) (ning2 ke3) (zuo4) (hen3 duo1) (qi2 ta1 de.) (shi4 qing2), (rang4) (wo3) (jue2 de.) (geng1) (fang4 song1)
(compare to) (watch) (television), (I) (prefer, rather) (do) (many) (other) (matters, tasks)
I would rather do many other things, rather than watch TV.
It’s not that I always want to be “working” on something. I actually find it relaxing to do things like
(zai4) [(fei1 ji1 chang3)(de. shi2 hou4)] (bi3 qi3) (du2 shu1), (wo3) (chang2 chang2) (ning2 ke3) (chui1) (di2 zi.)
(at) [(airport) (when)] (compare to) (read book), (I) (often) (rather) (blow) (flute)
When at the airport, I often would rather play the flute than read a book.
I have been told by many people that they are grateful.
(ta1 men.) (gao4 su.) (wo3), “(xie4 xie.) (ni3) (chui1) (d2 zi.), (rang4) (wo3 men.) (jue2 de.) (hen3 hao3)
(They) (tell) (me), “(thank you) (you) (blow) (flute), (let) (us) (feel) (good)
They tell me, “Thank you for playing the flute. It makes us feel good.”
One time a father said of his a young child
“(ta1) (bu4 neng2) [(an1 jing4)(de.)][(zuo4) (zhe.)], (zhi2 dao4) [(ting1 dao4)(le.)] (ni3) (chui1) (di2 zi.)”
“(he) (not able) [(peace)(fully)][(sit)(ing)] (until) [(hear)(d)] (you) (blow) (flute)”
When I am playing
(wo3) (yi1 bian1) (xiang3), (ti2 xing3) (zi4 ji3) (zhe4) (zhi3) (shi4) [(chang2 shi4) (zhe.)] (chui1), (suo3 yi3) (kan4 kan4) (bie2 ren.) (shi4 fou3) (xi3 huan1), (ke3 shi4) (yi1 bian1) (you4) (hui4) (xiang3) (zhe4) (bu2 shi4) [(yin1 yue4) (hui4)]
(I) (on one hand) (think), (remind) (myself) (this) (only) (is) [(try) (ing)] (blow), (so) (see) (other people) (is it or not) (like), (but) (the other hand) (also) (will) (think) (this) (is not) [(music)(gathering)]
On one hand, I remind myself I am only try to play (my best) so that other people will enjoy it, but on the other hand I will think “this is not a concert.”
I find that
(dang1)(wo3) (zuo4) (zhe4 xie1) (shi4 qing2) (de. shi2 hou4), (wo3 de.) (nao3 hai3) [(bian4) (de.)] (hen3) (an1 jing4)
(just at) (I) (do) (these) (affairs, matters) (when), (my) (mind) [(become)(s)] (very) (quiet, peaceful)
When I do these things, my mind becomes quiet.
And we all know that
(ru2 guo3) (you3) (ren2) (yao4) (shui4 jiao4), (zui4) (zhong4 yao4) (shi4) (ta1 men.) (jue2 de.) (an1 jing4)
(if) (have) (people) (want) (sleep), (most, extremely) (important, necessary) (be) (they) (feel) (peace)
If people want to sleep, it is important they feel peace and quiet.
So, in the evening
(hen3) (duo1) (ren2) (kan4) (dian4 shi4) [(de.) (shi2 hou)], (wo3) (hui4) (xue2) (zhong1 wen2) (huo4) (shi4) (chui1) (di2 zi.), (you3 shi2 hou4) (feng2 ren4) (huo4) (shi4) (zhong4 cai4)
(very) (many) (people) (watch) (television) (when), (I) (will) (study) (Chinese) (perhaps, or) (be) (blow) (flute), (sometimes) (sew) (or) (be) (plant vegetables)
when many people are watching TV, I will study Chinese or play the flute, or sometimes perhaps sew or plant vegetables.
(ni3) (ning2 ke3) (zuo4) (shen2 me.)?
(all of you) (prefer) (do) (what)?
What do you prefer to do?
Notes on helpful things I learned or was reminded of while writing these sentences:
❶ The Chinese word for things as ‘objects’ is different from the word for activities or affairs. The common word 東西 (dong1 xi1) (things) is for objects, but 事情 (shi4 qing2) (matters, affairs, activities) was what I needed here.
❷ Where we would say in English “makes” me feel, the Chinese are more inclined to say “lets” 讓 (rang4) me feel.
❸ Even thought they both begin with the same character, 變成 (bian4 cheng2) and 變得 (bian4 de.) have important differences of connotation. One means a complete change 變成, like a caterpillar into a butterfly. The other means more of a mental state of being. I did not turn into a caterpillar.
❹ There are often sounds added in Chinese speech that are not put down in writing. So, if I was asking the last sentence out loud, I would add a 呢 (ne.). This ending indicates that something is being asked that the speaker has already said what they will be doing, but now is wondering what the other person will do.