So anyway, I managed to think really hard (REALLY HARD!) and said "Mama hwei chi man-gu le..." and I think my grandmother was having her own little coronary episode because that was the first full sentence I had ever said to her since... well, I don't remember EVER speaking to my grandmother in a coherent sentence past the age of maybe 8 or 9.
I know I should be hanging my head in shame at my appalling ignorance of my own "ancestral tongue"--although logically speaking none of my ancestors ever grew up speaking Mandarin as a first language but rather Hokkien and Cantonese and Malay, but we'll leave that discussion to another day--but I can't! Wheeee!!! I spoke Chinese! And I thought of the sentence on my own! And it involved the past tense! Not bad for a girl who can't even order a bowl of soup, eh?