Marie: the sexy-jazz dancing A.I. student

It’s not uncommon for a foreigner to give a Chinese friend their English name. I’ve named Ben and William, for instance, and even bestowed the more outlandish names of Ringo and Clement upon kids while in Qinghai two summers ago. I gave Marie (pictured above outside Beijing’s Bell Tower) this French-sounding name, though, not on a whim but because she wants to study in Paris next year. She didn’t like the English name given her by her first English teacher in China: Mindy. 

Marie is in her final undergraduate year at Beida, studying Artificial Intelligence: she was one of 18 students in approximately 170,000 in her province to score high enough on her gao kao exams to come here. She’s from southerly Yunnan province, and her roots show in her accent while speaking Chinese. When speaking English she also mixes her ‘l’s with her ‘n’s, which I have never heard another Chinese friend do (‘l’ usually gets confused with ‘r’, thus the undying hilarity of asking for flied lice).

Of course, I’m in position to pass judgment on poor pronunciation. I get the tone of ‘sentence’ wrong, and ask if my tangerine was correct, more often than is polite.

Marie also sexy-jazz dances. Check out this clip to see what that is. She took classes for half a year though, in the the interest of accuracy, she’s now moved on to ‘new jazz’ dancing. When we discuss music, Marie is quick to whip out her MP3 and we listen to Britney Spears (she loves the new song ‘Womanizer’), Avril Lavigne (‘Girlfriend’) and especially the Pussycat Dolls (‘Freak’ is the favourite here … I felt a little awkward when asked to translate the lyrics to this one).

All this in addition to playing the zither-esque guzheng, one of China’s most ancient and traditional musical instruments.

Fingers crossed all will go well and Marie will take her guzheng-worn fingers, 1 in 10,000 exam results, A.I. know-how and sexy/new-jazz moves to Paris in July 2010 to study Physics or Maths. What is it which excites her most about the prospect of living in France, I ask?



  1. I know her when we met your father last year. But I don’t know that she can dance and play the guzheng. Very nice. I don’t know whether she can teach me . I strongly take interest in guzheng. I can teach her draw Chinese painting .:)

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