New Members - What was one of your first real life usages of Chinese?

This is a topic designed for New Members.

Just add a comment below about when you first started using Chinese in "real life" meaning outside of the classroom. Was it in a restaurant or taxi? Or talking with a practice partner on skype? 

Examples:

"The first time I used Chinese was when I was at a consulate for my visa and was able to drop a few 'dui dui' in the conversation."

"I was at a restaurant and able to tell my friends which dishes were chicken 肌肉 and which were beef 牛肉. "

You can answer in English, pinyin or characters, whichever is better for your level.

So when did you first use Chinese in real life?

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Trying to take the taxi home from my university in Beijing to 东四十条. Every day I sat down and tried to say it in Chinese and because my tones were messed up, the driver would not understand and I had to get out the little piece of paper where my friend had written the address in Chinese characters.

After three weeks when I got into the taxi and tried saying it again, the driver suddenly just started driving without asking. He had understood! One of the best moments of my life.

在父母城市 , 遇到看起来年龄跟我一样的中国人 , 告诉他们我怎么喜欢学习中文 =D

The first "real life" situation where I have used Chinese is at a Chinese Bible study held at the house of a friend from church. Although many of the attendees spoke English as well, I was able to practice my listening, reading, and writing quite a bit:)!
First-time use that I remember would be at a local restaurant。 麻烦你给我水. was how I tried to respond to what would I like to drink.

The first time i used Chinese was with a language exchange partner on skype.   I had been studying Chinese for a few days and could not speak more phrases then a hello. 

As of yet, I have not needed to speak Mandarin. Most Chinese in the United States are fluent and don't want to suffer through my bad Chinese. However, I eavesdrop often. As Mandarin 1 - Beginning Chinese student, I understood two nurses complaining about how many patients they had that day and anticipated for the next. They used vocabulary I had just learn in a chapter titled " 生病"..
Besides that, I've tried to start conversations on the bus. However, on both ocassions they were Cambodian. They knew a little Mandarin though and asked me a few basic question- it was very nice of them to help.

When I got a Mandarin / Chiinese copy of Sun Tzu - The Art of War, I was fascinated. I learned some of the symbols and want to learn more

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