October 26, 2009

Mei Guo Ren 美国人

Mei 美 means beautiful
Guo 国 means country
Ren 人 means people or person

The most commonly asked question we received while out and about is, “Where are you from?” Sometimes the question is phrased differently, “Are you American?” or here in Harbin, “Are you Russian?”

We politely respond, “Meigou ren (American)” with the usual response from the questioner, “Awe!”

The Chinese characters for Meiguo were the first characters we learned to write. In order to mail an envelope home to the states, we must write the county in Chinese. The rest of the envelope can be in English, but to get the envelope started in the right direction, we include the Chinese.

We’ve grown so accustom to using these words that they again have slipped into our English vocabulary. Since we use the word to describe where we are from in China, Harbin ren, we also use it to refer to our American hometown, GC-ren.

We look forward to seeing all our hometown “ren” this summer.

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