Here’s all the lovely Chinese words that I throw in my posts. Sometimes things just sounds better in Chinese.

Word/phrase Chinese characters Meaning Usage and notes
bu fangbian 不妨便 ‘not convenient’ This can also mean ‘awkward’ or ‘socially uncomfortable.’ Frequently used to give an excuse for why something didn’t happen or won’t happen without actually explaining the reasons.
chabuduo 差不多 ‘almost, nearly’ Used to mean “close enough,” or “good enough.”
chunlian 春联 ‘spring couplets’ Pairs of sayings/wishes written vertically on red paper to hang on the left and right sides of doors for Spring Festival
fangbian 方便 ‘convenient’
hongbao 红包 ‘red packet’ or ‘red envelope’ Small, red, decorated envelopes that are used for giving money on occasions such as Chinese New Year or weddings.
jiaozi 饺子 ‘Chinese dumplings’ The general term for these is jiaozi. If they are boiled, they’re shui jiao, if they’re steamed, they’re zheng jiao, and if they’re pan-fried, they’re jian jiao. Here in the south, I’ve never heard them called guo tie (which is literally ‘pot stick,’ where the English name “potstickers” comes from), but I think that is what the pan-fried ones are called in other parts of the country.
kuaidi 快递 ‘express delivery service’
laowai 老外 ‘old outsider’ The chummy, familiar, slightly respectful way to refer to foreigners. There are contrary reports that the term is not so friendly. Used the same was as meiguoren and waiguoren.
mafan 麻烦 ‘hassle, trouble, bother’ This word is even used by laowai who don’t speak Chinese because it’s just more useful than the English words. “It was too much mafan.”
meiguoren 美国人 ‘American (person)’ Technically, this is those who are from the U.S., but it is used as a blanket term for anyone white person.
nai nai 奶奶 ‘grandma’ This specifically refers to one’s paternal grandmother, but it used as a respectful way to refer to any women of grandmotherly age.
niangao 年糕 ‘year cake’ A “cake” made of glutinous rice flour, sometimes with brown sugar added in, sometimes made into special shapes.
renao 热闹 ‘hot and noisy’ This is the ideal of what any restaurant, party, gathering, or celebration should be. Bustling, boisterous, lots of music/talking/laughter, probably quite a bit of drinking, FUN.
sanlunche 三轮车 ‘three wheeled vehicle’ A small three-wheeled motorcycle taxi that has a covered area in the rear with two benches. I cannot prove this, but I swear they are specifically engineered for all the exhaust to be piped directly into the passengers’ faces. These are used for short distances inside cities. In a small town like ours, you can ride in one all the way across town, or even hire one to take you to a neighboring town or village, for the right price.
waiguoren 外国人 ‘outside country person, foreigner’ Technically, this includes anyone who is not a P.R.C. citizen, but it is often used to only refer to white (Caucasian) people.
wenxiang 蚊香 ‘mosquito coil’ These are a spiral of incense-like material that are burned to keep mosquitos away.