This post is, for a change, about me! We moved to Georgia last summer and I was recently invited to give a 30 minutes presentation on chronic kidney disease to the general Chinese speaking public in the area. All in Chinese, with a few English medical terminologies allowed in between. As a youth immigrant, I learned everything from middle school and up in English, including everything in medical school and medical residency of course. To my Chinese-speaking friends, family, and the few Chinese-speaking patients that I have had so far, I can say a few sentences about their medical issues in Chinese with little problem. But to give a 30 minutes talk in Chinese about a medical subject, well, that’s a completely different ball game. Besides it being a good community service and promotion for my medical practice, I figure that it would be a good way to let my girls see how knowing Chinese well can be a good way to connect with the local Chinese speaking community, even for youth immigrants like myself. This talk would also be a good way to force myself to improve my own Chinese.
After getting all my slides done (in Chinese mostly), it took me more than 10 hours just to practice delivering this talk in Chinese. Like any talks, I have to add in some jokes and interesting things to liven it up a little, in Chinese of course. I also added a couple of Chinese idioms, proverbs, and a reference to an ancient Chinese medical story. Public speaking was never my thing and my girls helped out, providing critiques during parts of my practice. DD#1 “Charlotte” is a natural in public speaking and wrote several PAGES of notes for me. She even suggested more suitable Chinese words for me to use, can you believe it?! (She can compose in Chinese better than I can.) DD#2 “Georgia” was just laughing her heads off, jotting down more than a hundred of my “uh…uh….” in just a few minutes of my initial practice runs! I was starting to get very annoyed at her, LOL! Since I had a busy work week, I stayed up till 4AM the day of my talk (Sunday) to practice. In the morning, I practice two more times and felt fairly confident by the time we left the house.
I was a little nervous waiting for my turn as I was to deliver the latter of the two talks. An adult immigrant China and US trained physician delivered the first talk on cancer screening and treatment. Well, my talk went very well, I am so relieved to say. No more “uh….uh….”, LOL. The audience asked many questions and a number of them asked me for my business card afterward. My wife was very proud of me that I asked her “所以，妳認我是妳的先生了？!“ (So, you would now acknowledge that I am your husband?!) LOL. It took me a whole hour afterward just to feel all that stress leave me.
My girls were very proud of me too! Mission accomplished!