Yesterday I was given the tasked with organizing the logistics of a professional development workshop for my school next week. It's quite an onerous task; airline tickets, hotel reservations and visa arrangements still need to be made (in addition to all the in-school logistics). I decided to focus my review today in regards to transportation since I'll be traveling to the airport on Sunday to meet our trainer.
Tomorrow, I'll arrange for a shifu (driver) to take me to the feijichang (airport) Sunday afternoon. A very simple request could be: "wo xiang xing qi er dian qu feijichang" (I would like to go to the airport Sunday at 2:00, literally 'I would like Sunday 2:00 to go airport'). It is possible to also take the ditie (subway), chuzuche (taxi), or didi (Didi is China's version of Uber), but it will be most convenient to take a che (car) from the xuexiao (school) so the facilitator feels more at ease - especially if it's his first time in zhongguo (China).
Words that I may need to give directions include:
bei (north) zuo (left) qian (before)
dong (east) you (right) hou (after)
nan (south) zhi (straight) fujin (nearby)
xi (west) pangbian (beside)
And my personal favourite:
hongludeng (traffic lights, literally red-green-light).
I recalled today that to get in a car, you use shangche (literally 'on car') and to exit, you use xiache (literally 'off car'). To remember this, I think about an older means of transportation - ma (horses), on which you would have to climb on or off. I'm not sure if that's how the language developed, but sometimes I need to make strange connections to remember new vocabulary or grammatical rules.
If all goes according to plan, on Sunday, I'll be able to say, "wo xian qu feijichang zhao John ran hao women hui wode jia" (First, I will go to the airport to meet John, then we will come back to my house).